Five Privatization Nightmares
Here are five nightmares resulting from privatization:
- Privatized Prisons
Think through the implications of a privatized prison system: if people go to prison it means more profit for the big for-profit prison corporations. This puts corporations, with all of their influence over the government, in the position of wanting more of us sentenced to long terms in jail so they can make more money! Even worse, there is an added corporate benefit: cheap prison labor.
Of course, the result you would expect from these incentives is exactly what has been happening.
For example, you may have heard about the "Kids for Cash" scandal in which Pennsylvania judges pleaded guilty to sentencing kids to privatized detention centers in exchange for payoffs from the profit-making companies that ran the centers. First the judges arranged for public detention centers to be defunded. Then they started sentencing a disproportionate number of kids to private detention centers in exchange for bribes.
The profit incentive to put more and more of us in prison is not just an isolated local problem. This year The Nation looked into prison privatization, in The Hidden History of ALEC and Prison Labor. They found that the notorious, Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), in an effort that is sponsored by the big for-profit prison corporations and companies that benefit from the cheap labor this provides, is helping to pass laws to put more and more of us in jail. According to The Nation,
… prison labor for the private sector was legally barred for years, to avoid unfair competition with private companies. But this has changed thanks to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) .... [and their] instrumental role in the explosion of the US prison population in the past few decades. ALEC helped pioneer some of the toughest sentencing laws on the books today, like mandatory minimums for non-violent drug offenders, “three strikes” laws, and “truth in sentencing” laws.
… ALEC has also worked to pass state laws to create private for-profit prisons, a boon to two of its major corporate sponsors: Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group (formerly Wackenhut Corrections), the largest private prison firms in the country. An In These Times investigation last summer revealed that ALEC arranged secret meetings between Arizona’s state legislators and CCA to draft what became SB 1070, Arizona’s notorious immigration law, to keep CCA prisons flush with immigrant detainees. ALEC has proven expertly capable of devising endless ways to help private corporations benefit from the country’s massive prison population.
[. . .] Much of ALEC’s proposed labor legislation, implemented state by state is allowing replacement of public workers with prisoners. Read More Here | AlterNet