The U.S. locks up far more juveniles per capita than any other country, and our country and our state cannot afford that any longer: not economically, and not in the cost of incarceration turning children into criminals.
States have turned away from punishing acts such as truancy and delinquency with detention; acts that are not criminal for an adult but have in the past siphoned youths into the court system. Less detention has been accompanied by less violent crime among youth.
“It may seem counter intuitive, but if you look at the types of offenses for which we’re no longer detaining youth, it is not,” says Sarah Jane Forman, assistant professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and director of the Youth Justice Clinic which provides legal counsel to indigent youth. “The kids who have committed serious violent crimes; they remain locked up.”
Not only is being locked up ineffective as a deterrent in youths who have not reached full cognitive development and don’t understand the consequences of their actions, it can actually make a criminal out of a potentially law-abiding kid.
ALEC seems, however, to have a special interest in privatization
— that is, on turning the provision of public services, from
schools to prisons, over to for-profit corporations. And some of the
most prominent beneficiaries of privatization, such as the online
education company K12 Inc. and the prison operator Corrections
Corporation of America, are, not surprisingly, very much involved
with the organization.
What this tells us, in turn, is that ALEC’s claim to stand for
limited government and free markets is deeply misleading. To a large
extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized
government, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer
dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In
short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is
about expanding crony capitalism.
And in case you were wondering, no, the kind of privatization ALEC
promotes isn’t in the public interest; instead of success stories,
what we’re getting is a series of scandals. Private charter schools,
for example, appear to deliver a lot of profits but little in the
way of educational achievement.
Think about that: we seem to be turning into a country where crony
capitalism doesn’t just waste taxpayer money but warps criminal
justice, in which growing incarceration reflects not the need to
protect law-abiding citizens but the profits corporations can reap
from a larger prison population.
Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from a Birmingham jail in 1963:
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
And today we have an organized threat to justice everywhere.
That threat is called ALEC.
Private prison company CCA, which in conjunction with ALEC promotes laws in dozens of states and nationally that lock up more people for CCA’s private profit at taxpayer expense, really doesn’t like
community opposition to siting private prisons in their communities.
Hm, why would CCA hate community opposition so much, unless it works?
There are Web sites and blogs that are adamantly opposed to your company
and industry, and they provide negative information about you. Why?
Hm, you mean like some of the material on this blog?
CCA and all corrections companies recognize the ongoing efforts
of local, loosely formed grassroots groups and national, well-funded
associations that jointly oppose the establishment of partnership
prisons, many for self-serving reasons. Such groups go to great lengths
to attack, criticize and misrepresent the entire industry. They make false
allegations and often rely on hearsay and unreliable sources. Regrettably,
these biased groups often resort to misinformation and inflammatory
rhetoric to turn isolated incidents into broad generalizations about
the corrections industry as a whole.
Well-funded? Har! OK, not this blog.
That plus we provide evidence, like
Continue reading →
A northeastern Pennsylvania judge was ordered Thursday to spend nearly
three decades in prison for his role in a massive bribery scandal
that prompted the state’s high court to toss thousands of juvenile
convictions and left lasting scars on the children who appeared in his
courtroom and their hapless families.
Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was sentenced to 28
years in federal prison for taking a $1 million bribe from the builder
of a pair of juvenile detention centers in a case that became known as
“kids for cash.”
Now that’s privatization of justice!
Looks a lot like no justice at all.
Makes you wonder how many other people are in prison who shouldn’t be.
We don’t need a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia.
Spend that tax money on rehabilitation and education.
PS: Had to go to the Guardian for the picture, though.
CHARLESTON, WV – West Virginia’s largest church group has asked
U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd and the rest of the state’s congressional delegation
to oppose funding a private prison for undocumented immigrants in
Pendleton County near the Virginia border.
The Council of Churches is
one of several groups discussing immigration reform ahead of expected
congressional action on the issue. The Council has asked federal
lawmakers’ help in the effort, arguing private prison operations have
been rife with abuse. GSI Professional Corrections is seeking county
commission approval to build the detention center near Sugar Grove to
house 1,000 nonviolent immigrant detainees awaiting possible deportation.
Rev. Dennis Sparks, the Council’s executive director, complains private
prisons operate outside the mainstream legal
Methodists lobby private prison companies CCA and GEO
as shareholders about human rights issues.
Seems like this doesn’t help with the 2008 United Methodist Church
Resolution 3281, Welcoming the Migrant to the US, which advocated the
“elimination of privately-operated detention centers,”
but at least they’re doing something.
I expect what they’ll accomplish by such lobbying is to demonstrate
that private prison companies have no intention of addressing
human rights issues, because that would cut into their profits.
In 2011, members of the United Methodist Interagency Task Force on
Immigration approached the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits
(General Board) with concerns about two private prison companies in
the General Board’s investment portfolio: Corrections Corporation of
America (CCA) and The GEO Group, Inc. The United Methodist Interagency
Task Force on Immigration was created following the General Conference
of 2004. Membership includes representatives from the General Board of
Global Ministries (GBGM), the General Commission on Religion and Race,
the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), Methodists Associated to
Represent the Cause of Hispanic Americans (MARCHA) and two bishops. In
addition, GBCS has shared its concern that CCA and The GEO Group have
been accused of human rights abuses of young people, immigrants and
people of color.
CCA and The GEO Group are the two largest private prison companies in the
U.S., operating and/or owning, respectively, 111 and 118 correctional,
detention and/or residential treatment facilities. In 2010, CCA earned
nearly $1.7 billion; The GEO Group, $1.3 billion.
A few months ago a group of earnest and determined stockholders traveled
together by bus from Washington, D.C., to Nashville, Tennessee, to
attend a shareholders’ meeting for the Corrections Corporation of
America (CCA), the largest private prison company in the country. The
group included ex-offenders who now each hold one share of stock in the
same prison company that once held them captive, and they attended the
meeting in the hopes of sharing their perspective on how the privatized
prison industry can better serve society by rehabilitating inmates,
rather than just serving its own profits by perpetuating the prison cycle.
The group, part of Washington, D.C.’s Church of the Saviour, is named
Strength to Love, after the title of one of Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr.’s sermon collections. Members explain their mission this way: