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May-30-2012 12:41TweetFollow @OregonNews
Capitalizing off Crime: Disgust for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP's)Steve Maynor, Jr., Salem-News.com
Connect the dots and do some critical thinking when the next young man receives a 10-year mandatory sentence for trafficking a small amount of crack.
(TAMPA, FL) - The prison industrial complex is a 100 giga-billion dollar business. It is troublesome to know young people are still making decisions to get themselves locked up. Then they relegate themselves to second class citizenship because the cloud of living as an ex-convict follows them around long after they have been released.
Statistics show that prison is a likely destination for people who drop out of high school, or do not have a college degree or technical certification. I have been very outspoken in opposition to PPP's in rural areas that rely heavily on an inmate population of young men who look like me. White-collar criminals continue to get away with running the economy into the ground without fear of prosecution because police spend too much time making the easy arrests. The easy arrests I am speaking of are the average street corner drug dealers. These young men do not control the boats or airplanes that bring drugs into this country, but they are certainly considered to be the face of the so called “War on Drugs.”
PPP's need warm bodies to fill those cells to keep the money in the pockets of the executives who running the prison. It is like they have a neon "VACANCY" sign flashing, encouraging young people to keep dropping out of school, keep selling drugs in their own communities, keep robbing, stealing, and killing each other because there are plenty of beds available.
Although the criminal justice system in undoubtedly flawed, it is not the systems fault when young brothers get arrested while standing on the corner with a pocket full of dope. It is not the systems fault when young brothers are sporting a new outfit every week, spending thousands of dollars on platinum teeth, and riding around in custom cars with 28” rims; with no job.
For some, trouble is easier to stay out of than for others, but the bottom line is that we have to start taking responsibility for our own actions and stop putting ourselves in situations that police and the prison industry can take advantage. These people are literally getting rich off a system that is in place for the purpose of correction, hence the name, the Department of Corrections. Not the Department of Rehabilitation or the Department of Get Right once a person is locked up.
In July 2010, Congress changed a 25-year-old law that has subjected tens of thousands of African Americans to long prison terms for crack cocaine convictions while giving far more lenient sentences to those, mainly Whites, caught with the powder form of the drug.
During his presidential campaign, then Senator Obama said, "the wide gap in sentencing cannot be justified and should be eliminated.” The new measure changes a 1986 law, enacted at a time when crack cocaine use was rampant and considered a particularly violent drug (See the death of basketball star Len Bias). Under the old law, a person convicted of crack cocaine possession got the same mandatory prison sentence as someone with 100 times the same amount of powder cocaine.
Five grams of crack equaled a five-year mandatory sentence and 50 grams of crack equaled a 10-year mandatory sentence for first time offenders in comparison to five years mandatory for 500 grams of cocaine.
The new law also eliminates the five-year mandatory minimum sentences for first-time offenders possessing crack, the first time since the Nixon administration that a President has repealed a mandatory minimum sentence requirement. However; it does not apply retroactively and the people incarcerated under the old law cannot get a re-trial, or a reduced sentence.
Corrections Corporations of America, the nation’s largest privately owned prisons owns more than 65 facilities with up to 90,000 beds in 19 states. This company making millions of dollars from humans being incarcerated can be found on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CXW. Their stock is currently trading at $26.22 a share, bringing in approximately $1 billion in revenue last year.
In the Reason Foundation and Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation Policy Brief of Policy Study No. 381, the state of California spends about $47,000 a year for each prisoner, which is over 50 percent higher than the national average. A table of the top 10 state correctional systems and costs can be found in this same study that makes me wonder what our legislators are doing with our tax dollars.
PPP’s would like us to believe that they are saving states millions of dollars by offering states like California the option to send some of their inmates to lower-cost facilities out of state. Industry experts have determined that there are not enough beds in other states to absorb the amount of prisoners California needs to transfer. The state would need to transfer their prisoners in increments that would “allow time for private corrections management firms to finance, design, and build new prison capacity-either through new prisons or expansions of existing facilitates out of state-to accommodate the additional inmates.”
Let that sink in for a moment and think about what that statement means in the grand scheme of things.
While education budgets in most states are being slashed, I wonder if the Department of Corrections budgets are being reduced at the same rate. How much does your state spend per student (K-12) in comparison with the amount of money they spend per inmate?
There is a perfectly good explanation why these private prison companies are continuing to expand their facilities all over the country. MONEY! Industry lobbyists continue to draft legislation for our elected officials to ensure mandatory sentence bills are passed into law. Connect the dots and do some critical thinking when the next young man receives a 10-year mandatory sentence for trafficking a small amount of crack, or is sent back to prison for an extended period for a minor parole violation.
We have the power to put these companies out of business by simply staying out of their prisons, which sounds good in theory and can be accomplished if we put our collective minds to criminal prevention. Communities want and so desperately need citizens who have respect for their fellow man, are self-reliant, and those who will be assets to the community instead of dragging it down.
Originally published by Steve Maynor Jr. on May 30, 2012 via Blogger.com
"Steve 'Stu' Maynor Jr., USMC is an active duty Marine. You can learn more about Steve Maynor Jr. by visiting http://stuthinks.blogspot.com.
'Stu' Maynor says he does his best to approach each topic with an open mind and from a sarcastic/funny, yet common sense point of view. "My writing style is independent, thoughtful, energetic, motivating and sometimes rebellious to traditional writing standards. Throughout my articles you will find that I discuss issues with a simplistic, yet understandable opinion that I hope you will enjoy and appreciate."
One of his favorite sayings, is "Plan Ahead, It Wasn't Raining When Noah Built the Ark!" The writings of Steve 'Stu' Maynor Jr., USMC, are a valuable addition to Salem-News.com"
Steve "Stu" Maynor Jr.
"Plan Ahead, it wasn't raining when Noah built the ark"
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