America's Prison-Industrial Complex

Steve Kinsman By Steve Kinsman, 15th Jul 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

In America, locking people up is big business these days.

The business of locking people up

At the end of the 1970's there were 110 people imprisoned in America for every 100,000 people in the population. By the mid-nineties that number had climbed to 445 per 100,000. Today over 1500 of every 100,000 of our citizens are locked up in America's prisons. In California alone there are more people in jail than in France, Great Britain, Germany, Singapore, Japan and the Netherlands combined. This is a direct result of privatization, where in the last twenty years more and more of our prisons have been given over to private corporations to run. These for-profit entities, in order to grow their bottom line, need to constantly continue to get more people incarcerated.

Illiterates, African Americans, Latinos and the mentally ill

One in five young African American males between the ages of 18 and 24 are either in prison or under the thumb of the criminal justice system. In California eighty percent of prison inmates are black or brown. Seventy percent of all prison inmates in America are illiterate, and over 200,000 are seriously mentally ill. Thus, our for-profit prisons have become society's dumping ground for the uneducated, the mentally ill, and young people of color.

Privatization has bred wholesale corruption

In Pennsylvania recently, two judges pled guilty to accepting 2.6 million dollars in kickbacks in exchange for sending teenagers to privately owned detention centers. One 17 year old high school student was sentenced to ninety days for spoofing her school principal on Facebook. Another was sent up for three months for getting into a school yard fight with another boy. Thus, privatization has opened the door for widespread abuse, not only in terms of sentencing, but also in the area of procurement of products and services.

The irony

It is ironic that over the last decade violent crime has decreased significantly in the United States at the same time that more and more people have been packed off to the country's jails and prisons. The vast majority of the incarcerated are behind bars for non-violent offenses, largely because of possession or sale of drugs, and the vast majority of these are for marijuana laws violations.

As long as we continue to assign the running of our prisons to private corporations we will continue to see our prison population grow and grow, regardless of the crime statistics.

Tags

Prison, Prison-Industrial Complesx, Prisons, Steve Kinsman, Writing

Meet the author

author avatar Steve Kinsman
I live in California with my wife Carol, where I have been practicing professional astrology for 35 years. I write articles on astrology, but I enjoy writing on a variety of other subjects as well..

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Comments

author avatar Delicia Powers
16th Jul 2011 (#)

Very informative and timely article Steve, thank you!

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
16th Jul 2011 (#)

Thank you so much Delicia.

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author avatar Buzz
16th Jul 2011 (#)

The more things change, the more they get worse. What an irony indeed. Thanks for this article, Steve.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
16th Jul 2011 (#)

Thank you Buzz. I appreciate that.

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author avatar Songbird B
16th Jul 2011 (#)

A powerful article with jaw dropping statistics... This needed to be brought to peoples attention, Steve..

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
16th Jul 2011 (#)

Yes, Songbird. The whole thing stinks. Thank you for commenting.

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author avatar Carol Kinsman
16th Jul 2011 (#)

Wow! Thank you for opening our eyes to this, Steve. xoxo

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
16th Jul 2011 (#)

Thank you, my love. xoxo

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
16th Jul 2011 (#)

I watched a show on the American prison system, it was very sad, the shame of a nation for sure. THanks for sharing this Steve.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
16th Jul 2011 (#)

Indeed it is the shame of a nation, Mark. Thanks for commenting.

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author avatar satan fury
16th Jul 2011 (#)

Wow! The statistics are alarming and it's so sad too. A very good write. thanks for sharing. marlene

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
17th Jul 2011 (#)

Very alarming and very sad, I agree. Thanks you, Shining Star.

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author avatar Neha Dwivedi
17th Jul 2011 (#)

such an act indeed is violent and i must thank you for bringing this issue up through your well written article.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
17th Jul 2011 (#)

Thank you geeta arora. I very much appreciate your comment.

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author avatar Retired
17th Jul 2011 (#)

Very well written, informative and relevant work, dear Steve.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
17th Jul 2011 (#)

Thank you, rama devi. I appreciate that.

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author avatar MAnature
24th Jul 2011 (#)

There are indeed problems, thank you for this sad but very real paper. xo

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
24th Jul 2011 (#)

Thank you for commenting MAnature. xo

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author avatar J A Ridley
10th Aug 2011 (#)

yea verily! Stick it to 'em

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
10th Aug 2011 (#)

Yea verily - thank you JA

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