Tag Archives: prison-industrial complex

Marijuana prohibition had nothing to do with smoking it

It had everything to do with the king of yellow journalism newspapers not wanting competition for his yellow paper and the king of the new plastics not wanting competition with them: competition from hemp.

Kathleen Murphy wrote for the Washington Free Press 3 June 2009 about How Marijuana Became Illegal,

As the methods for processing hemp into paper and plastics were becoming more readily available and affordable, business leaders including William Randolph Hearst and DuPont stood to lose fortunes. They did everything in their power to have it outlawed. Luckily for Hearst, he was the owner of a chain of newspapers. DuPont’s chief financial backer Andrew Mellon (also the Secretary of the Treasury during President Hoover) was responsible for appointing Harry J. Anslinger, in 1931 as the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
Anslinger and Hearst made up whatever propaganda they thought might scare the public into supporting prohibiting hemp: Continue reading

Time to divest from private prison companies

It’s time to stop private prison profiteering by refusing to take their profit: divest private prison company stock from personal, pension, and church funds.

There’s no need to speculate that private prison companies have incentive to keep more people locked up: CCA says so. Kanya D’Almeida wrote for IPS 24 August 2011, ‘Profiteers of Misery’: The U.S. Private Prison Industrial Complex:

CCA’s 2010 annual report states categorically that, “The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws — for instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.”

CCA continues, “Legislation has been proposed in numerous jurisdictions that could lower minimum sentences for some non-violent crimes and make more inmates eligible for early release based on good behaviour, (while) sentencing alternatives under consideration could put some offenders on probation who would otherwise be incarcerated. Similarly, reductions in crime rates or resources dedicated to prevent and enforce crime could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and sentences requiring incarceration at correctional facilities.”

What’s this got to do with Georgia? Continue reading

The United Methodist Church declares its opposition to the privatization of prisons and jails

We already heard from the Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Catholic churches, against private prisons. Now let’s hear from the United Methodist Church:
Our Lord began his ministry by declaring “release to the captives…” (Luke 4:18 NRSV), and he distinguished those who would receive a blessing at the last judgment by saying, “I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matthew 25:36b NRSV) Jesus also declared that one cannot serve two masters and condemned the idolatry of mammon, or wealth. (Luke 16:13).

Christians, therefore, must have a special concern for those who are captive in any way, especially for those who are imprisoned, and for the human conditions under which persons are incarcerated. Individual Christians and churches must also oppose those policies and practices which reflect greater allegiance to the profit motive than to public safety and to restorative justice for offenders, crime victims, and local communities.

Therefore, The United Methodist Church declares its opposition to the privatization of prisons and jails and to profit making from the punishment of human beings.


The statement has further practical explanation of why this opposition: Continue reading

Private prisons are a public safety problem

They don’t save money and they do increase escapes. Justice shouldn’t be for private profit at public expense.

W.W. wrote in The Economist 24 August 2010 about The perverse incentives of private prisons:

LAST week authorities captured two fugitives who had been on the lam for three weeks after escaping from an Arizona prison. The convicts and an accomplice are accused of murdering a holiday-making married couple and stealing their camping trailer during their run from justice. This gruesome incident has raised questions about the wisdom and efficacy of private prisons, such as the one from which the Arizona convicts escaped.
Arizona, the place Georgia just copied Continue reading