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Prison Prospects in the New Year…

Most of us don’t have to do much to get into prison.  (A newby once told me, “Yeah, but I really didn’t do anything!”  I could only laugh.  That’s the point, son.  You don’t have to do anything!  You really don’t.  The wrong place, the wrong time, the only plea bargain)

It won't wait forever...

Prison has become the default warehouse by the ruling class and their conservative and neo-liberal wannabees.

Homeless?  In need of mental health care?  Unemployed?  Living below the poverty line?  Black or Hispanic or poor male, say, 14-and-up?  Protesting something?  You have an excellent chance of running afoul of the American criminal justice system in 2011.

Of course, if you’re a part of the inchoate Brown Shirt army, serving as a state-actor in the corporatist agenda crowd opposed to liberal gov’t (representation by and for the people), taxes (especially for the rich), unions, Social Security, public healthcare, etc., then you’ll probably have a good chance at a job guarding the rest of us.

   I’ve watched over the years as the California education system’s state budget went down at precisely the same rate as the state’s prison budget rose.  A new prison guard in CA with 6-wks training and a GED gets more starting pay than a tenured university professor!  

   Julie Stewart of FAMM recently brought to my attention that arch-conservatives, such as, Newt Gingrich, Pat Nolan, Edwin Meese, etc., are calling for being “Right on Crime” (no doubt, far right).

Now I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop:  Their solution.  All of these conservatives are connected and partnered to ALEC and other private prison/industry organizations.

Their solution is to, 1. impoverish the general population (even as they themselves steal untold wealth), 2. bankrupt the state and municipal economies, and 3. PRIVATIZE!  the whole kit ‘n caboodle.

They end up richer, we’re poorer and worse off, and no one’s responsible for anything (except the victims, of course).  When these conditions are created, there is also the need to defend and enforce them, thus the cycle continues.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) commented on New York’s North Country prison industryin his recent State of the State speech.  He pointed out that virtually all of the state’s new prisons over the past 30 yrs (as with other states) have been built in white, rural, Republican districts.

Cuomo stated, “An incarceration program is not an employment program.  If people need jobs, let’s get people jobs.  Don’t put other people in prison to give some people jobs….That’s not what this state is all about.  And that has to end.”

Not only do those areas get the jobs that go with prisons, but almost all of the states count prisoner bodies in the census’s Congressional representation where they’re incarcerated.  Over 90% of us are from urban districts.

Wherever you come from is where you should be counted.  You might not get to vote while you’re behind the razor-wire, but at least your home district should still count you’re warm body for Congressional representation and apportionment.

While Ol’ Andy translates his speechifying into facts, I’ll just keep workin’ this nut to see if I can crack it…

               Dr. Publico

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