08 April 2012

QuickThought no. 3

Mass incarceration for profit.

If you aren't already aware (in which case, you should take some time to inform yourself about these critically important issues), the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world—not just the highest in North America or among developed Western nations, but the entire world.

(Credit: ACLU.org)
As Al Jazeera's "The Stream" reported in a piece entitled Incarceration, Inc. on 5 April, the use of private prisons in the United States increased by "40 percent at the state level and by 784 percent in the federal prison system" between 1999 and 2010. 

784 percent. 

Think about that. Between 1999 and 2010, was there actually an almost-800-percent increase in the number of persons who committed crimes worthy of incarceration? Absolutely not. One would be hard pressed to find valid evidence to support this. What, then, is to blame for this all-too-real statistic? The answer is money. In our capitalist, corporation-dominated system, not even the incarceration of human beings is immune from the attempt of some to make a profit. This is what is known as the Prison-Industrial Complex. 

The article, which examines the Prison-Industrial Complex, includes a vast array of information, data, statistics and the like—all pertaining to the ridiculousness of America's blatantly prejudiced prison system. You could probably spend hours analyzing the info in the article. And if you somehow find that the amount of information presented there is not enough, check out this list of the 39 most unequal countries in the world (as per the Gini coefficient) and keep in mind that, if you are reading this as an American citizen, you are living in the 39th most unequal political system on Earth.

"America imprisons approximately 760 per 100,000 people. This is the highest rate in the world and no other country comes close." But the reality of America's PIC doesn't stop there. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 1 in every 106 white males over the age of 18 is incarcerated in the US. For hispanic males, it's 1 in every 36. For black males, it's 1 in every 15.

God bless America, eh?


  1. http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/cointelpro/churchfinalreportIIIc.htm