Prisons cash in on huge profits

Travis Pastori, Travis Pastori, and Travis Pastori

Is America really the land of the free? Consider this, a report released by the Pew center last year says that 1 in every 100 Americans was behind bars in 2008. The United States only has 5% of the world’s population, but we have 23% of the population of its prisoners. What’s wrong with Americans? Are we a crazy breed of criminals? Or is crime big business?

Prisons are everywhere and bursting at the seams with alleged criminals. However, most of our crime is drug related and non-violent. The Federal bureau of investigation reports marijuana as the fourth most cause of arrest. Why? Is it acceptable to punish people for supposedly harming themselves? It’s common knowledge that cigarettes legally kill, but nobody thinks pot kills people. Also, It’s perfectly all right to eat McDonald’s fries, which are obviously harmful. Anyone can drink a fifth of whiskey and die from it as much as they want. They could even jump over five school busses on a motorcycle or put their head in a lion’s mouth just to show off to friends, but smoking a joint could get them locked in a tiny concrete cell away from their families and lives, where they could get beaten up or killed. That is a dandy thing to do to a person for getting stoned. Putting someone in prison for harming them selves is like being hit in the head with a baseball bat for slapping their own face.

Prison is an industry. Companies such as Corrections Corporation of America, the GEO group, Cornell Companies, and Community Education Centers make money from imprisoning people. Obviously they need to have crime to have business. Wealthy corporate entities often use money to help change the laws by working henchmen into powerful government positions, and paying teams of lawyers to fight for the freedom to do whatever makes a profit.

Profit is all that matters to a corporate mentality. The Guardian reported that the Mid-Atlantic Youth Services Corp, a private prison company, was found guilty of bribing judges with 2.6 million dollars to have 2000 children sent to their prisons. Freedom seems to sway any direction the greedy people push it, and even children are just inventory.

Unfortunately it’s the poor people who suffer the most. A lot of people can’t afford their bail and sit in jail for months only to get charges dropped when there was never a real crime. I doubt anyone apologizes for the inconvenience, but I’m sure there are fees included with the inmate’s release.

To keep things going smoothly people need to break laws, so new laws need to be made constantly challenging civilians to keep up. Making things even worse, ignorance of the law is no excuse to break it. How is everyone in Oregon to know that if their seat-belts are fastened but aren’t fitted just perfect that the fine is 150 bucks? There are so many laws not even lawyers know them all.

In the near future corporations will build an electric fence around the US and sentence everyone to life in prison. Only then will Americans be safe from the dangers of making their own decisions.