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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Home Sweet Prison

As I opined on my personal web site in 1998, "New prison construction and staffing is a major growth industry, which speaks volumes on [economic] expectations. A discontent, riotous public must be confined." Predictably, it now seems that not only are they confined, they are to be put to work as prison laborers which benefit private industry; many of which are directly connected to state politicians and their supporters.

Even though government officials tout the US as being the global leader in "Freedoms" and endeavours to "Grow Democracy" in the rest of the world at gunpoint, the US is by far the world leader in the percentage of its population which is imprisoned. Prisons are now big business, and rural areas which have seen downfalls in their economy due to massive manufacturing moves overseas and failing agricultural infrastructures are embracing huge new prisons as their financial saviors.
To gain the potential benefits of a new local prison, county and local leaders have often felt compelled to launch vigorous lobbying efforts and offer significant concessions to state or private prison builders.
Small towns commonly purchase the land and promise to build the water and sewer infrastructure necessary to accommodate the prison. Civic leaders in Rush City, Minn., for example, raised $700,000 in individual and business donations, added it to a $40,000 city contribution and used the total to buy acreage for a prison building site, a condition set by the state in exchange for selecting the town. The neighboring town of Braham, initially selected for the prison, had raised over $800,000 for the same purpose before losing the prison when soil tests found the site was unsuitable.

In Shelby, Mont., officials used a $500,000 community development block grant and an $800,000 US Economic Development Administration grant to pay for infrastructure for the facility built there by Corrections Corporation of America, the country's largest private prison firm.
Big House On the Prairie
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis FedGazette

Private Prisons Industry and Amendment ESouth Dakota prisons have factories manned by $.25 per hour inmate/workers that compete with our South Dakota small businesses. These factories go by the pleasant sounding name of "Pheasantland Industries." Products and services provided by these South Dakota slave factories include:

• Printing of brochures, letterhead, and business cards.
• Furniture of all types including cabinetry.
• Mattresses and pillows.
• Clothing including screen printing.
• Data entry services.

By 2011, one in every 178 Americans, more than 1.7 million inmates, will be in prison at projected rates, reports say. The total US incarcerated population in just five years will outnumber the residents of Atlanta, Denver and Baltimore, combined. That includes more than 192,000 new inmates, a population explosion that will require $15 billion in new operating costs and $12.5 billion in new construction costs to handle.

South Dakota Prisoner Numbers to Grow, Study Says - Argus Leader

What a country...


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