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Prisoners & Families: Neo-Slavery…

I recall back in 2006 when I was being transferred from the federal prison at FCI Jesup, Georgia, to the prison camp at FPC Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

Getting up at 2:30am, the procedures included stripping, total body-cavity searches, an orange jump-suit and chains from my waist, to hands, to feet. Herded into a bare holding-cell with some 40 other prisoners, we languished until past 10am for the steel-caged prison transport bus.

Just before the bus arrived, I was called to the front of the cell, apparently by the mail-room supervisor.

He looked real hard at me and said loudly, “I’m glad you’re finally being transferred, you son-of-a-bitch! For six years I’ve had to process your goddamn commie mail. I hope you rot and die in prison, you piece of shit,” he spat at me.

As he walked away I turned to my fellow prisoners and could only shrug and comment, “Then don’t read it.”  There were a few chuckles as we continued to wait for the bus.

When I first started my prison bit of 25 yrs in 1990, the circumstances and general privileges were vastly different than they grew to be.  I came to witness profound changes.  All for the worse…

Today, with over 2.5 million prisoners in the American gulag, there are far fewer “privileges” as they’ve devised a vast variety of restrictions.

These include eliminating enclosures such as magazines and newspapers, as well as personal mail being squeezed. Many jails and prisons are trying to require prisoners to only have access to postcards for outgoing mail.

In the federal Bureau of Prisoners—with over 208,000 prisoners throughout some 116+ institutions—they now have all the addressees of outgoing mail vetted by computer (you’re required to use computerized mailing labels).

Computer clearance includes all phone calls and visitors. Of course, this information is available to all law enforcement, Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security.

Increasingly, more and more prisoner applications and privileges are being gutted and/or privatized for corporate profit. The conservative imbeciles who staff and run the prisons are fond of pointing out that prisoners have no rights or privileges that they are bound to honor.

In fact, other than what judges and courts order (increasingly less so), they are correct. The US Constitution sanctions prisoners as de jure slaves. The 13th Amendment (1865) reads: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime…shall exist within the United States….”

So, the US Criminal Justice System, on behalf of the gov’t/corporate masters they serve, being enterprising fellows, simply criminalize those sections of the population—to wit: the poor, certain minorities, and the surplus working class—that suites their profit and social control.

After all, who’s gonna stop ‘em? Slavery in America has always been about profit. After 1776 and the colonial Declaration of Independence, the Brits switched sending their workhouse poor and the indebted to Australia. After the American Civil War, slavery of Africans was switched to convict leasing.

A more modern example, is where today the largest private prison company in the US, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), has rec’d some $74 million of taxpayer funds to run immigration centers alone.

All legal. The corporate-conservative legislator interface is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is a clearinghouse for corporate-written legislation to be made into law in return for the legal bribery of “campaign funding.”

CCA alone has “contributed” $14.8 million to conservative legislators to pass corporate-written anti-immigration laws to keep their private prisons filled. The US Treasury, thus the taxpayer, foots the final bill.

(Click image to enlarge…)

Another example of squeezing profit out of prisoners is procured thru the corporate phone systems. CCA requires prisoners to work at which they are paid $1/day (if anything). They charge prisoners $5/min. to use the phones.

The Montgomery County jail in Dayton, Ohio, alone makes more than a half-million dollars annually from prisoner phone calls. This is split with the private profit company, Aramark Correctional Services.

All of this largesse is over and above conservative campaign funding and whatever kickbacks go to prison officials.

Slavery. It’s all just business.

Dr. Publico

Category: Prison Stats
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