There is now talk of adding a VAT (Value Added Tax) or something similar to help increase tax revenue for the government but before we go down this road I’d like for someone to explain why we spend at least $40 billion dollars for prisons in this country. Think that number is too high? If I’m not mistaken we have about one million people in prison and the average cost to house a prisoner (food, clothing, healthcare, etc) is about $40,000 per year.
Before we begin adding a whole new layer of taxation how about we look at controlling the out-of-control waste in this country.Â Â I don’t understand what the rationalization is for $40k per year per prisoner.Â Â We do want to keep murderers and rapists locked up forever but I can’t believe that we have one million murders and rapists.
I firmly believe part of the problem here is education.Â I’ll wagerÂ that MOST of the people in prison have little or no education and if that is the case then I’d rather have one million productive workers than one million celled chumps.Â Â Â Â So why isn’t there a focus on education?Â Â No doubt there are always arguments about giving people “free” education but it’s clear that the alternative to “free” education at a cost of about $3k – $10k per year per student is much better than 40k per year per prisoner.
Many people are noticing a recent surge in crime and there’s no doubt that unemployed people have turned to crime but I also suspect that parents have cut back on day care or after school programs (e.g. YMCA) which have now unleashed hordes of restless kids onto the city and suburban streets.Â Â With nothing better to do, kids will vandalize and commit petty crimes and this boundless energy is better served in a classroom or some after school program.
As I drove home today from my kids school I saw three teenage boys looking and acting rather suspiciously.Â As I drove by they hid something behind their back attempting to be rather nonchalant but I decided I better check out what they were up to so I drove around the block again and saw those same kids hiding something rather suspiciously.Â Â I think it might have been a crowbar or some type of wedge object to pry open a house but after they saw me looking directly at them twice they decided they better move off somewhere else.Â I probably stopped a crime but those punks will probably just move on to another house.
I hope someone out there can explain prisons and the prison industrial complex.
4 thoughts on “Will Someone Please Explain…Prisons”
On a certain level I don’t believe in state prisons at all, but I’ll try to compromise my libertarian utopia for what I consider a common-sense limited government version.
In this version, rapists and murders are in prison. Let’s expand ( while also limiting that) to anyone who commits an ACTUAL “crime.” That is, someone who has initiated force/fraud against another person or his property. This does not include victimless “crimes,” crimes entirely manufactured by the government,etc.
How many prisoners would we have then?
There is a moral and economic argument. I am trying to be brief. If there is no victim there really isn’t a crime. I wonder how many criminals are actually created when non-criminals are locked up in a cage and forced to interact with violent criminals. I wonder what purpose it serves to lockup people who are really no danger to society while wasting money doing so and probably making them MORE dangerous when they get out- Giving a non-criminal a criminal record, having them “hardened” by the prison lifestyle of race based gangs, sexual assault,etc.
If we must have a prison system ( which cannot be confused with a justice system) then limit it to violent criminals who have no/few redeeming qualities and are probably an actual threat to civilized people.
But I think we live in a Big Government era- it is definitely bi-partisan in nature- where an expanding prison system is probably seen as a positive “job creation” program. If you can get more clients/customers ( prisoners) you can develop property purchased from landowners, employ people and firms to build the prisons, create jobs for the wardens/guards/food suppliers, build roads ( where police can set speed traps and run their property seizure rackets), restaurants and gas stations to service visitors to the prisons and the crowded courts creating more jobs for judges, clerks, court reporters, attorneys,etc), and so on.
Plus you can hire more police, whether there is a demand or not. Create crime and guarantee jobs like in no other industry. Is there any other job where graduating from a community college level or lower education guarantees a job at your employee/location of choice and requires stimulus money and tax hikes without question?
My local police department is apparently campaigning for tax hikes on the job. And the local news is their PR firm. Tonight they had a story about a guy getting robbed and shooting at the perp. But the “real” story was how the responding officers supposedly told the guy that if we don’t raise city income taxes ( while everyone else is taking income cuts, the government never has to and yes police officers are part of big government, they are not a special exception) that police are going to stop responding to these kinds of calls. And the “reporter” commented on how “scary” things are going to get if we don’t support unlimited taxes and government expansion to guarantee a job for any person with a pulse who wants to be a city police officer.
Somehow I doubt there is not enough manpower to respond to burglaries and other actual crimes. At any given time I can see a full Dunkin Donuts parking lot, cops tailgating people, turning on their sirens to run the red light on the way to Dunkin Donuts, harassing people,etc. If cops have plenty of free time to do all that and arrest people for simple substance possession, nuisance, and pre-crimes while playing soldier to bust up poker games- they sure as hell don’t need double taxes and increased force to respond to armed robbers.
We don’t need to spend all that money on prisons because we shouldn’t have that many prisoners. And we should have more of a restitution based justice system where the victims of crime are compensated, not The State. And its kinda hard to educate and rehabilitate people who are locked in a cage and live like packs of animals. I think that the legal/prison system probably has a net effect of making our society LESS safe. It creates black markets, manufactures crime, incentivizes violence,etc.
So don’t put non-violent people in that environment in the first place.
But that wont work because the State needs to grow the State. We need the government to be the biggest employer and everyone to either be an employee or client ( prisoner). Then every eligible voter can vote in the interests of his employer and seek to grow government until the end of time. They keep printing more money to keep it going, and then what. I don’t know. But it certainly seems like most people are big supporters of unlimited government and don’t know how to recognize it because they think big government is “good” when it purports to keep them safe from the “bad” guys ( criminals, who are mostly non-violent and/or unhealthy/uneducated). And there are certain things like prisons and law enforcement that inexplicably go unquestioned and can do no wrong, while receiving some fantasy exemption.
Thanks for the comment Greg. California’s governor recently announced that he would release up to 40,000 prisoners if he didn’t get his tax increases. I don’t know if he will go through with it or not but there does come a breaking point in supporting these complex systems.
A â€œSINGLE VOICE PROJECTâ€ is the official name of the petition sponsored by: The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons (NPSCTAPP)
THIS PETITION SEEKS TO ABOLISH ALL PRIVATE PRISONS IN THE UNITED STATES, (or any place subject to its jurisdiction)
The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons (NPSCTAPP) is a grass roots organization driven by a single objective. We want the United States government to reclaim sole authority for state and federal prisons on US soil.
We want the United States Congress to immediately rescind all state and federal contracts that permit private prisons â€œfor profitâ€ to exist in the United States, or any place subject to its jurisdiction. We understand that the problems that currently plague our government, its criminal justice system and in particular, the state & federal bureau of prisons (and most correctional and rehabilitation facilities) are massive. However, it is our solemn belief that the solutions for prison reform will remain unattainable and virtually impossible as long as private prisons for profit are permitted to operate in America.
Prior to the past month, and the fiasco of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, Lehman Brothers, and now the â€œBig Threeâ€ American Automobile manufacturers, the NPSCTAPP has always felt compelled to highlight the â€œmoral Bottom lineâ€ when it comes to corrections and privatization. Although, we remain confounded by the reality that our government has allowed our justice system to be operated by private interests. The NPSCTAPP philosophy has always been â€œjusticeâ€ should not be for sale at any price. It is our belief that the inherent and most fundamental responsibility of the criminal justice system should not be shirked, or â€œjobbed-out.â€ This is not the same as privatizing the post office or some trash pick up service in the community. There has to be a loss of meaning and purpose when an inmate looks at a guardâ€™s uniform and instead of seeing an emblem that reads State Department of Corrections or Federal Bureau of Prisons, he sees one that says: â€œAtlas Prison Corporation.â€
Letâ€™s assume that the real danger of privatization is not some innate inhumanity on the part of its practitioners but rather the added financial incentives that reward inhumanity. The same logic that motivates companies to operate prisons more efficiently also encourages them to cut corners at the expense of workers, prisoners and the public. Every penny they do not spend on food, medical care or training for guards is a dime they can pocket. What happens when the pennies pocketed are not enough for the shareholders? Who will bailout the private prison industry when they hold the government and the American people hostage with the threat of financial failureâ€¦â€œbankruptcy?â€ What was unimaginable a month ago merits serious consideration today. State and Federal prison programs originate from government design, and therefore, need to be maintained by the government. Itâ€™s time to restore the principles and the vacated promise of our judicial system.
John F. Kennedy said, â€œThe time to repair the roof is while the sun is shinningâ€. Well the sun may not be shinning but, itâ€™s not a bad time to begin repair on a dangerous roof that is certain to fallâ€¦. because, â€œIncarcerating people for profit is, in a word WRONGâ€
There is an urgent need for the good people of this country to emerge from the shadows of cynicism, indifference, apathy and those other dark places that we migrate to when we are overwhelmed by frustration and the loss of hope.
It is our hope that you will support the NPSCTAPP with a show of solidarity by signing our petition. We intend to assemble a collection of one million signatures, which will subsequently be attached to a proposition for consideration. This proposition will be presented to both, the Speaker Of The House Of Representatives (Nancy Pelosi) and the United States Congress.
Please Help Us. We Need Your Support. Help Us Spread The Word About This Monumental And Courageous Challenge To Create Positive Change. Place The Link To The Petition On Your Website! Pass It On!
The SINGLE VOICE PETITION and the effort to abolish private â€œfor profitâ€ prisons is the sole intent of NPSCTAPP. Our project does not contain any additional agendas. We have no solutions or suggestions regarding prison reform. However, we are unyielding in our belief that the answers to the many problems which currently plague this nationâ€™s criminal justice system and its penal system in particular, cannot and will not be found within or assisted by the private â€œfor profitâ€ prison business. The private â€œfor profitâ€ prison business has a stranglehold on our criminal justice system. Its vice-like grip continues to choke the possibility of justice, fairness, and responsibility from both state and federal systems.
These new slave plantations are not the answer!
For more information please visit: http://www.npsctapp.blogspot.com
To sign the petition please visit: http://www.petitiononline.com/gufree2/petition.html
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
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