Jeremy Kuzmarov: While railing against social welfare programs and excessive government spending, law-and-order hawks have presided over an unprecedented prison boom funded by taxpayer dollars, and allowed prison conditions to deteriorate significantly in many states.
The Prison Industrial Complex
For-profit prison companies, businesses that supply goods and services to prisons, politicians who benefit by trying to appear "tough on crime", a misdirected "war on drugs" and other forces have merged to create the largest incarcerated population in human history right here in the land of the free - the United States of America. The articles on this page explore this issue.
Guest Speakers: Jeanne Woodford (former San Quentin warden) and Obie Anthony (exonerated after being wrongfully convicted of murder) Monday, 21 May
Bruce Reilly: ALEC and for-profit prison lobbyists are fighting to stop the decriminalization of marijuana, to lengthen sentences, eliminate Good Time credits, curtail parole, incarcerate immigrants, maintain mandatory minimums, and increase Three Strikes laws because these efforts will increase their profits. But is this in the public’s best interest?
Sharon Kyle: Given the public’s short attention span, it’s no wonder juicy celebrity gossip and salacious headlines have come to dominate the “news”. This is great for those who don’t want us to pay attention.
Diane Lefer: When a community sees daily injustice and doesn’t see the rule of law equally applied, it becomes morally and ethically easier to choose to live in a lawless way.
Bruce Reilly: For years I watched the full-time lobbyist of the Attorney General, their legislative specialist, testify against practically every attempt to reform the criminal justice system.
Diane Lefer: All women, she said, should be able to give their children what no one else can give, to have the right to stay home, if they want to, with their children up to the age of two or three without suffering loss of needed income.
Dick Price & Sharon Kyle: California’s 58 counties must deal with a sudden influx of state prison inmates, straining their jails and requiring innovative sentencing and supervisory programs.
B. Cayenne Bird: The California legislature uses prisons and jails as a means by which to finance the bureaucracy. They use it for job creation and the $1.8 million that Brown took from CCPOA dictates his loyalty to the prison guards.
Bruce Reilly: If everyone refused a plea bargain and went to trial, the system would crash. This maneuver is not new. I could have never organized these men to refuse plea bargains and go to trial for several reasons.
Sharon Kyle: In a relatively short period of time, our nation has incarcerated enough people to create the second largest city in the United States. Releasing a few tens of thousand prisoners for overcrowding won’t change much or will it?
ACLU Forum: The number of nonviolent, non-serious, non-sexual prisoners the San Gabriel Valley alone will receive through 2012 is between 1,000 and 1,500. What will be the impact on local communities and families of these (primarily) men?
Leah Sakala: Rather than forcing counties and municipalities that house prisons to grapple individually with the distortions caused by flawed population data, it is far more logical for the Census Bureau to count incarcerated people at home in the first place.