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From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America
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SECRET PRISONS & THE PIC > The Prison Industrial Complex (PIC)

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message 1: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10487 comments The term "prison–industrial complex" (PIC) is used to attribute the rapid expansion of the US inmate population to the political influence of private prison companies and businesses that supply goods and services to government prison agencies. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison%...

The synopsis for From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America is a good summary:

In the United States today, one in every 31 adults is under some form of penal control, including one in eleven African American men. How did the "land of the free" become the home of the world's largest prison system? Challenging the belief that America s prison problem originated with the Reagan administration's War on Drugs, Elizabeth Hinton traces the rise of mass incarceration to an ironic source: the social welfare programs of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society at the height of the civil rights era.

Johnson's War on Poverty policies sought to foster equality and economic opportunity. But these initiatives were also rooted in widely shared assumptions about African Americans' role in urban disorder, which prompted Johnson to call for a simultaneous War on Crime. The 1965 Law Enforcement Assistance Act empowered the national government to take a direct role in militarizing local police. Federal anticrime funding soon incentivized social service providers to ally with police departments, courts, and prisons. Under Richard Nixon and his successors, welfare programs fell by the wayside while investment in policing and punishment expanded. Anticipating future crime, policy makers urged states to build new prisons and introduced law enforcement measures into urban schools and public housing, turning neighborhoods into targets of police surveillance.

By the 1980s, crime control and incarceration dominated national responses to poverty and inequality. The initiatives of that decade were less a sharp departure than the full realization of the punitive transformation of urban policy implemented by Republicans and Democrats alike since the 1960s.

From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime The Making of Mass Incarceration in America by Elizabeth Hinton


message 2: by James, Group Founder (last edited Aug 12, 2016 03:07PM) (new)

James Morcan | 10487 comments What is the Prison Industrial Complex? http://www.publiceye.org/defendingjus...

"Prison Industrial Complex" (PIC) is a term we use to describe the overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as solutions to what are, in actuality, economic, social, and political "problems."


message 3: by Lance, Group Founder (last edited Aug 19, 2016 06:55PM) (new)

Lance Morcan | 2530 comments A group poll currently running asks members: What is your opinion of the “Prison Industrial Complex” (i.e. the overlapping interests of the government departments and private companies who both manage the penal system)?

https://www.goodreads.com/poll/show/1...


message 4: by Lance, Group Founder (new)

Lance Morcan | 2530 comments The above poll has now finished.

Here are the results to the question: What is your opinion of the “Prison Industrial Complex” (i.e. the overlapping interests of the government departments and private companies who both manage the penal system)?

64.3% voted It’s a major problem our society needs to rectify

18.3% voted The Prison Industrial Complex needs to be monitored but is not a major political issue compared to other problems

14.8% voted Not sure

2.6% voted The privatization of prisons is the best way to manage criminals

Check out the lively discussion that occurred during the poll:
https://www.goodreads.com/poll/show/1...


message 6: by Feliks (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) I hate to have to say this--and I never thought I would ever come to say something like this--but frankly, I don't think there are any Americans left who even give a damn anymore. When I walk through the streets of New York, just about everyone on two legs is 100% wrapped up in the dreamworld of their digital devices. They're inside fuzzy, wraparound cocoons. 24/7. It is horrifying.

Anything like 'prison' or 'accidents' or 'mishaps' simply ...'happens to other people'. "Nothing happens to me, as long as I'm gazing at my device". Nothing interrupts "my browsing".

That's the mindset. They do not care what happens to anyone else on earth. Just don't separate them from their toy. During a typical day, they gaze more at their email or their music playlist, than they do at their loved ones.

I mentioned in another forum how I think this country should simply morph into a totalitarian dictatorship at this point. It really ought to. This nation should simply give up all pretense at democracy and just slip into oligarchy.

No one is even paying attention, no one is voting, no one has any education. Everyone is watching advertisements and banners. You can put anyone into a trance just by promising them a free downloadable movie.

So let's just go all the way. If nothing shakes up these sheeple, hit them with a police state and see what they do then.


message 7: by Lance, Group Founder (new)

Lance Morcan | 2530 comments Who’s Getting Rich off the Prison-Industrial Complex? https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/mv...
Many of America's prisons are run by for-profit corporations, so clearly some people are making lots and lots of money off the booming business of keeping human beings in cages. But who are these people?


message 8: by Dan's (new)

Dan's | 2 comments Feliks wrote: ", hit them with a police state and see what they do then. . Always a pleasure to see ya inhabiting a thread, in any topic...
It's been quite sometime actually, anyways, I'll come u with a plausible reply later at 🌃



message 9: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 0 comments I have a friend who worked at a women's prison. The justice system feeds inmates to the prisons to keep the beds full and keep the for-profit corporation solvent. The inmates he worked with were predominantly poor, lacking the funds for good legal representation. He told the inmates that and was reprimanded. He also told me that there was rampant discrimination against white inmates by the predominantly black employees. Every two years, the contract was up for grabs and a new company could take over and change policy and programs. His program, teaching a successful CDL class, was cancelled by the new administration. This sounds like a piss poor way to run anything.


message 10: by James, Group Founder (last edited Feb 28, 2018 05:29PM) (new)

James Morcan | 10487 comments Invisible Punishment: The Collateral Consequences of Mass Imprisonment

In a series of newly commissioned essays from the leading scholars and advocates in criminal justice, Invisible Punishment explores, for the first time, the far-reaching consequences of our current criminal justice policies. Adopted as part of "get tough on crime" attitudes that prevailed in the 1980s and '90s, a range of strategies, from "three strikes" and "a war on drugs," to mandatory sentencing and prison privatization, have resulted in the mass incarceration of American citizens, and have had enormous effects not just on wrong-doers, but on their families and the communities they come from. This book looks at the consequences of these policies twenty years later.

Invisible Punishment The Collateral Consequences of Mass Imprisonment by Meda Chesney-Lind


message 12: by James, Group Founder (last edited Apr 16, 2018 12:19AM) (new)

James Morcan | 10487 comments The following excerpts are from Defeated Demons: Freedom from Consciousness Parasites in Psychopathic Society by Thomas Sheridan, which I am currently reading

"...the United States Corporation has locked up more people than any other nation on earth – a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the US. Looking at it another way, the US has 25% of the world’s prison population, but only 5% of the world’s people. Why is this happening? Are Americans really that naughty? Not particularly, it’s just business. In fact, it’s the perfect partnership of government and corporate interests merged into a single, elegant and completely unified psychopathic agenda."

"What exactly does this workforce produce? 93% of all domestic paint sold to Americans is manufactured by American prison labour, as well as 36% of home appliances, 21% of all office furniture and – this may be my favourite – 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts and bullet-proof vests. And yet…the United States prohibits the importation of any goods made through forced labour in foreign countries. So, there you have it; ninety-seven percent of federal inmates in the United States have been convicted of nonviolent crimes and federal prison is where they are going to stay, because once you have a cheap, reliable, relatively non-aggressive employee you may as well hang on to him for the rest of his life."

Sheridan, Thomas. Defeated Demons: Freedom from Consciousness Parasites in Psychopathic Society . Velluminous Press. Kindle Edition.

Defeated Demons Freedom from Consciousness Parasites in Psychopathic Society by Thomas Sheridan


message 13: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10487 comments What is PRISON-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX? What does PRISON-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX mean? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juT_j...


message 15: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10487 comments “In the US Prison Industrial Complex, slavery can be used as form of punishment”
by Alex Anfruns / August 17th, 2019
https://dissidentvoice.org/2019/08/in...
On the 31st July 2019 a group of incarcerated people at Scotland Correctional, North Carolina, started a hunger strike in order to protest against the use of torture in the correctional facility. In the United States, there are more than 2 million people incarcerated. To know more about the hunger strikers’ conditions, Alex Anfruns has interviewed a member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee.


message 16: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10487 comments OPINION: Building ‘mega jails’ to replace Rikers won’t end the prison industrial complex https://queenseagle.com/all/2019/9/30...

Rikers is a human rights atrocity, but building mega jails won’t solve the problem. At a time when we should be ending the jail and prison industrial complex, this proposal will invest ten billion dollars right back into the system.


message 17: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10487 comments Angela Davis, "The Shifting Concept of the Prison Industrial Complex" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwBuA...

Angela Davis, Social Justice Activist and Scholar

Critical Resistance presents “Breaking Down the Prison Industrial Complex,” a series of videos as part of our Profiles in Abolition initiative. The videos in the series explore the current state of the prison industrial complex (PIC) and how people are fighting back to resist and abolish it. As always, we feature abolition as a strategy to dismantle systems of harm and punishment in favor of systems that increase health, stability, and self-determination.


message 18: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie | 1 comments In AZ we have both private and state prisons. My son was in both during his sentence. In 2015, he was in the minimum custody yard. He had been in the medium custody yard of this private prison. The minimum custody yard had an incident. It was overshadowed by the medium yard having a full blown riot. That prison yard was basically destroyed before it was all over. The inmates had been on lockdown for most of the summer. Kept inside with swamp coolers that did not provide enough of a temperature drop in the Arizona heat; those who could running fans; 2000 men kept locked up in their pods, usually limited to staying in their cubicle. A shortage of guards who were working double and triple shifts. The final straw that ignited the fire - the inmates received wet bag lunches. They declined to eat them. They were eventually promised replacement lunches; same problem. 3 days before it was all over, with 8 of 10 buildings completely destroyed. MTC had to foot the bill for rebuilding. One of the guards committed suicide over having killed an inmate. Several others were fired because of their actions during the riot; they did not know how to handle the situation.

The State demanded that contractor be replaced so it went to the no. 1 private prison provider replacing MTC with GEO. Despite MTC having rebuilt, the State agreed to pay GEO a million dollars. It was supposed to result in better wages for the guards (who are all paid less than state guards) and provide for more training for them. Considering the profit that GEO makes and the bonus amounts awarded to their higher level executives, it was ridiculous that our tax dollars were paying a private prison corporation to take over a contract and to pay decent wages and hire more guards.

We have a county which has multiple private prison complexes for our state, other states, and for federal inmates. The county receives a dollar a day per inmate from the contractor. That county has made a lot of money from becoming a "prison town". The private prison is the major employer in that county. Aside from building new courthouses and county government complexes, they built a county jail that will hold over 1,000 inmates.

As an aside - Why would a county in AZ need that many beds? Interestingly, many inmates from the medium custody prison were placed in county jails pending finding room for them elsewhere and the private prison being rebuilt. We have a state prison whose locks on the cells haven't worked for years. They are now closing that prison because it is too expensive to fix, and that county jail will have its beds filled, along with CoreCivic having been awarded 2 contracts in the past 4 years to build more prison facilities in that county.

In addition to running the prison, both the state and the private prisons are contracted with Securus, ICSolutions, J-Pay and other companies to provide phone services, commissary, supply packages (that family and friends purchase for inmates), transfer funds from outside to be deposited on inmate accounts. The State gets a kickback from those contractors and the State cut off the prior provisions that allowed family and friends to send money by money orders. The fee for depositing $100 ranges from $4.95 to $7.95 depending on which contractor you use.

Food and medical services are contracted out to private companies. The inmates actually have in the kitchen food that is marked expired and not for human consumption. The head of the kitchen gets a bonus from his employer for saving money - a private company that is hired by the state or the private prison companies. Medical is a complete mess and inmates pay $5 each visit, but don't receive real treatment. Arizona's failure to provide reasonable medical care for inmates has been ongoing before the federal courts with orders that they a have failed to keep and for which they are fined, again paying it with tax payer dollars. There is no incentive to provide medical services because that would cost these companies money. Sadly, the whole system and the voters don't recognize that when inmates are released most of the inmates are on the State's health insurance, which costs tax payers and the State more in the long run. Untreated conditions lead to higher cost conditions and ongoing treatment.

The State has now added tablets with video visits, pictures, and emails, along with the ability to obtain music and books, all at a fee for each item. Family and friends pay those fees for their incarcerated loved ones, the State DOC will be getting a portion and the private company will make big bucks.

Upon release, those who wear an ankle bracelet, another item provided for and monitored by a private company, along with various halfway houses and counseling services, all subcontracted to private providers.

In AZ none of these companies have to provide actual financial figures that we can examine and compare to state costs. All the private prison contracts include somewhere above 92% bed rates, meaning we pay for empty beds, so might as well keep them filled.

There is no incentive to rehabilitate or to change truth in sentencing laws. The DOC makes money and the private providers make money off of keeping people in prison. The prosecutor and the judges are elected and being tough on crime with a successful conviction rate is part of their platform. Everyone from the governor on down appears to receive campaign funds in one guise or another from the 3 major private prison companies.

The prison industrial complex is the vulture that is feeding off of our children. Their goal is profit; which is understandable. Our willingness to let them get so fat doing so, is not.


message 19: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10487 comments American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment

n 2014, Shane Bauer was hired for $9 an hour to work as an entry-level prison guard at a private prison in Winnfield, Louisiana. An award-winning investigative journalist, he used his real name; In American Prison, Bauer weaves a much deeper reckoning with his experiences together with a thoroughly researched history of for-profit prisons in America from their origins in the decades before the Civil War. For, as he soon realized, we can't understand the cruelty of our current system and its place in the larger story of mass incarceration without understanding where it came from. Private prisons became entrenched in the South as part of a systemic effort to keep the African-American labor force in place in the aftermath of slavery, and the echoes of these shameful origins are with us still.

American Prison A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment by Shane Bauer


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