Cosmos Universal Wordpress Theme

Education vs. Imprisonment

December 13th, 2014 by

        Education   vs.  Imprisonment

 

 –

 

         America’s   Preferred   Investment

 

 

 by  Cary  Washington                                                    

 

 

Most parents have aspirations for their children to attend a college university in order to take advantage of the better financial opportunities that America has to offer.  One reason is because the professional field is becoming more competitive everyday.  The amount of new technical information being presented to the world is consistently doubling every couple of years.  For example, the top ten jobs in 2013 did not even exist in 2004!  Which means that much of the information that a college student learns in one year will be mostly outdated two years down the road, before many of them even graduate.  This confirms that we are currently preparing a vast number of students and interns for jobs that currently do not even exist.

This is an area where adequate investment into our education system could easily produce the workforce necessary to handle our ongoing advancements in technology, and drastically improve unemployment in this country.  With this in mind, you would think that the approach to education would be a priority for the United States, if nothing else but to stay competitive with the technologies of other countries.  But sadly it isn’t even close, and its showing.  The United States currently ranks 20th in Educational Attainment, and 11th in Cognitive skills, placing an overall ranking of 14th place in education internationally.  Its estimated that more than two billion dollars is spent each year strictly on students who must repeat a grade, and more than 20% of all Americans read at, or below a fifth grade level!  Knowing this, it seems the direction the country is taking is investing more resources in creating more manual workers, as opposed to well educated entrepreneurs.  The US Department of Labor estimates that today’s students will have at least 10-14 jobs by the time they are 38 years old.  Amazing.

So let’s take a look at how this issue proves that the education of our citizens is, or is not, a priority for the American government.

The Department of Education was officially signed into law as late in American history as 1979, after its mere one year run back in 1867, before it was demoted down to office.  Surprisingly, the Department of Education is hands down the smallest Cabinet level department we have.  But despite this, the department was granted an annual budget of $12 billion in 1979.  Today, it is nearly six times that amount at $68.6 billion a year.  Yet, we still need year round school fundraisers, education lotteries, and teachers paying for school supplies out of their own pockets.  The attention and proper funding needed toward education in America is simply not there.  So there must be another objective, an alternative opportunity to fund instead.

Enter the Prison Industry, a trend so in demand in America that it can be found as a viable commodity on the New York Stock Exchange.  Freedom, bought and traded no different than coffee and real-estate.

There are specific crimes responsible for the bulk of today’s overcrowded prison system.  These crimes include robbery, assault, murder and drug related crimes.  And the three major contributors to these crimes have consistently been poverty, lack of education, and the controversial ‘War on Drugs’.  A war that has been waged by our government as early as the presidency of Richard Nixon, to combat drug manufacturers, traffickers and users.  A war that has cost the US taxpayer over 1 trillion dollars over the last 40 years with little positive results, the government still cannot keep drugs out of the jails and prisons they send the inmates to.  A war that has gradually gone from an inability to win, to a very lucrative endeavor through its connection to the prison industry.

 Today the United States of America has the largest and most efficient prison system in the world, incarcerating more of its citizens than any other country in human history.  We incarcerate a half million more of our own citizens than the country of China, which has a population five times that of the United States.  So what does China know that we don’t in regards to lowering crime, and at the same time producing a more intelligent population?  What is their secret?  One reason could be is that they haven’t enforced taking away the freedom of their citizens, into a for profit business model.  By this I mean the country’s entire incarceration system is gradually being taken over from government hands, into the responsibility of private corporations whose goal is to see a profit.  And in this corporate business, there appears to be an urgency to incarcerate more citizens, justified or not, in order to increase that profit.

In 2009, during a significant expansion of the prison industry in America, arguably our biggest international ally, had a much different take on the issue.  That same year, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that private prisons are unconstitutional.  Dorit Beinisch, the Supreme Court President, wrote “when the power to incarcerate is transferred to a private corporation whose purpose is making money, the act of depriving a person of liberty loses much of its legitimacy.”

And many organizations here in America are sharing a similar outlook.  According to the Progressive Labor Party, “The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners’ work, lobby for longer sentences in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself, liking it to that of a Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.”

IMG_1030

The evidence of these quotes from Israel and from the Progressive Labor Party have been actively carried out in America for some time, but still widely ignored.  In 2012 the Corrections Corporations of America sent a letter to the governors of 48 states offering to buy and operate their jails and prisons.  The only catch, the state governments would have to sign a 20-year contract guaranteeing that the prisons are filled no less than 90%, the entire time.  And if for some reason this agreement of capacity is not met, the US taxpayer pays for every empty bed up to this 90%.  Amazingly, to date, 37 states have agreed to these type of contracts, with some states even agreeing to 100% guaranteed occupancy.

So once they sign this contract, the state government now has an obligation to fulfill.  Before, they could fairly incarcerate people based solely on their crimes.  But now they have a quota to fill, regardless.  If the crime rate just so happens to be down in a county or a city that our police officers are risking their lives to improve, the incarceration rate will remain, and in some cases even rise.  In 2008 a horrendous scandal was uncovered, accurately nicknamed in the press as “Kids for Cash”.  Mid-Atlantic Youth Services Corp, a private prison company in the process of building two juvenile facilities, was found guilty of paying two Pennsylvania judges, Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan, $2.8 million to send 2,000 children to their prisons, for such trivial offenses as trespassing in vacant buildings and stealing DVDs.

What we are seeing is a well funded business model, supported by our government, that is making an incredible effort to target specific people for arrest, and ensure that they are incarcerated.  As a result, the prison industry has become extremely profitable over the years.  And that success is translating into influence.  According to the Justice Policy Institute, the private prison population grew significantly from 2002 – 2009, increasing lobbying dollars 165%.  This has given these corporations more money to attract the support of politicians and judges to help them expand their business further.  And they have a lot of support behind this expansion.

Most of the largest American corporations of today are heavily invested in prison labor.  Those corporations include IBM, Boeing, Microsoft, AT&T, Revlon, Macy’s, DELL, Hewlett-Packard, and Target stores to name a few.

The reality is, regardless of the efforts made by big corporations to present a positive public image, there is no room for morality in business.  Especially big business.  Case and point, this same level of investment and benefit on behalf of America’s top companies, was directly associated with the slave trade.  Companies such as Lehman Brothers, Aetna Inc., JP Morgan, Wachovia, Brooks Brothers and AIG, were among many more to directly benefit from slavery through investment or other means of support.  There was  no moral compass, only a financial opportunity.  These activities have been a familiar narrative among your favorite corporate businesses in America for centuries.

Justice, patriotism, early on becoming a mere cliche’ to mock in private social settings, where talks of incentive are taken much more seriously.  In this case, that incentive being cheap, highly profitable labor.  But just how cheap, is cheap labor?  The inmates are contracted by some of the largest corporations in the country, yet they pennies on the dollar as payment.  Receiving as much as $20 a month.

And how much money can be made if you are the corporation responsible for these incarcerated citizens?  To give you a better idea of its profit potential, according to Global Research March 2014, former Oregon State Representative Kevin Mannix recently urged retail giant NIKE to cut ties to its work force in Indonesia, and bring production to his state.  His response, “There won’t be any transportation costs; we’re offering you competitive prison labor.”

 To most citizens, at first glance this looks like an efficient, well funded justice system, fair and successful in its endeavors remove dangers to society, from society.  When in reality, corporate businessmen have figured out a way to work alongside the media, politicians of all levels, members of our judicial system and our government, in order to write and pass laws that target specific people for imprisonment.  But in all honesty, I don’t think the recent push back, in the form of nationwide protests, was expected.  In response to the recent, controversial grand jury decisions in Missouri and New York, the American people have seemed to draw a line as to what is not acceptable.  When what they are really seeing is a need for an accepted prison industry to fill its facilities at any cost.

 Although these high incarceration rates affect some racial groups much more than others, many people argue that this is not about race, and these statistics could literally happen to anyone.  If that is the case, does that not make this business model of the prison industry, even worse?  Are we really more comfortable in saying to ourselves that these contracts that are signed  by our state governments, ensuring that prisons are to be filled to capacity regardless of the crime, makes me feel better because I don’t think it’s about race?  This is an idiot’s argument.  This is about money, and its initial approach is about race.  Why else would America accept this for so long?

To not challenge this business model of the prison industry with the level of technology and access to information that we have as citizens in this country, shows that we truly accept this treatment for everyone.  What are we truly protecting with these wars we are fighting if the most educated and affluent citizens of a country can stand by and watch the very essence of what we are fighting as a military, play out right in front of their very eyes?  And still remain silent.

 

 

 

 

 

*Research Sources: Global Research, Wikipedia, Salon.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: