C C E S S T O J
U S T I C E
w w w . a c c e s s - t o
- j u s t i c e . o r g
AMERICA'S NEW SLAVERY
investigative report by Theodora Statoff
Ask an ordinary American in the street if they have sympathy with jail
or prison inmates - whether convicted or held on charges - and they would
most likely shrug their shoulders in indifference or contempt.
Ask them if there is one justice for the rich and another for the poor,
and they would most likely have a chuckle - why, it goes without saying
- the rich get richer, the poor go to prison.You only need look at Mark
Rich's pardon by the outgoing President Clinton.
Few would spare a thought , let alone compassion for the millions of
Americans caught up in the penal system - a formidable multitude consisting
of the inmates themselves and of the forgotten victims - their families
who largely bear the cost of the punishment - financially as well as emotionally.
Fewer still would identify with those who represent mere numbers, yet
provide the economy - both local and national - with a substantial fillip.
Why wouldn't they pay a debt to society, you might ask ?
After all, they offended against society....
Consider the facts....
Savvy investors and shrewd industrialists would have heard of the CCA.
Who is the CCA?
The following from their website, geared to attracting investors and
business partners :
"CCA is the leading private sector provider of detention and corrections
services to federal, state and local governments. The company designs,
constructs, finances and manages new or existing facilities, as well as
provides escort and court services and long distance transportation of
inmates. Its expertise covers adult and juvenile offenders at all levels
of security classification.
CCA's mission is to provide quality corrections at less cost to the
taxpayer, in partnership with government."
A private corporation, engaged in making a profit.
What, then, has the taxpayer got to do with it , you might ask ?
"CCA has more than $619 million in assets, supported by $30 million
in general liability insurance per facility. "
One of the largest growing corporations in the US, the CCA has
found an ingenious path to making huge profits from the "locking up of
Americans" - from virtual slave labor.
"CCA has industry partnerships with businesses across the United States.
Prison based industry offers several advantages in low operating costs
and available space including a plentiful labor low operating costs and
Who takes advantage of these "low costs" and "plentiful labor" ?
Not the taxpayer, certainly. Large corporations , who use the services
of the CCA and then, contribute to elected officials' campaigns and to
The recipients of those contributions make sure that the "plentiful
labor" described above is available - hence, the abolition of parole in
certain states and the heavy-handed approach to sentencing in both trial
and appellate courts.
Thus, the politicizing of the judicial process in modern America....
Once, there was a stigma attached to living next door to a prison.
Look at what has changed since:
"CCA is an active contributor to the local economy and quality of life
in each of its communities. In addition to cost savings, each facility
brings new jobs and new business to the community. "
Depressed communities become the natural allies of the CCA - just as
the nazis in pre-war Germany became heroes for revitalizing the economy.
The CCA's claim to cost cutting is absolutely justified, thus making
it an irresistible proposition to penal institutions.
The privatization of imprisonment has become big business in the USA.
There is Aramark - providers of "cost efficient" meals to prisoners.
There are the telephone contractors bidding for providing telecommunication
services to prisons.
There is CCA.
And then, there is TransCor Inc, providers of inmate transportation.
All of the above take pride in cost efficiency, in fact.
How is this cost efficiency achieved and who profits from it?
Quite simply, the prisoner and his family are further penalized -until
their burden, already heavy from legal costs, becomes impossible to bear
and the inmate is abandoned to his wits and a sprinkling of human rights
organizations - a number of them foreign.
An inmate in a penal institution is paid on average $0.15 an hour.
Simple arithmetic makes this a very attractive proposition for any
Ethics vs profit is not the subject of this report, however.
Most prisoners want to work. Work programs are few and far between.
One could argue then, that the CCA is a God sent to inmates.
The slavery aspect of the work and the carrot and stick element of
obtaining it are degrading in the extreme.
Has any CCA partner put some of their profits back into the penal system?
To subsidize an art program, say , or a library, or a better canteen
My inquiries have produced nothing this far.
"Diesel Therapy" next.