Get Ready for Pop-up Prisons – Upselling Prison #5

Move over Disney. With the alleged $22 million President Rhinestone’s pro-private prison buddies poured into a Trump super-PAC, they may soon own more land than Mickey Mouse.

If you’re not yet familiar with the phenomenon of mass incarceration in America, you will be when prisons are as common a sight as Costco and CVS.

The private prison industry has just been cleared to build ’em and fill ’em like there’s no tomorrow, so what’s stopping other financial powerhouses from jumping into the market? AT&T Supermax anyone? Custody Depot? Wal-Mart Correctional Services?

Hey, Sears and Toys R Us may survive yet.      

The Federal Bureau of Prisons has just been ordered to create a demand for inmates on behalf of corporate detention facilities, with a Department of Justice mandate to “increase population levels” in for-profit prisons. (Check out the recently leaked DOJ memo). This is likely the final nail in the coffin containing the Obama administration’s Smart on Crime initiatives, once set to phase out the use of private prisons. But forget about that Kenyan criminal-lover (he’s being erased more and more each day anyway) and tighten your sphincters, folks. Soon everyone’s gonna be doing time! 

Okay, okay, let me see if I can keep my bitterly contemptuous sarcasm in check. (Nope.)

The new order will enable the private prison industry to counter its many critics by claiming it’s “helping” us tackle overcrowding. You see, the multinational corporations that own private prisons like to think of themselves as the government’s best friend when it comes to mass incarceration (just look at those smiles). But having leveraged the legal system to their advantage, they’re more like whispering heroin dealers who have the welfare of neither inmates, taxpayers, or lawmakers  – including the ones they’ve pocketed – in mind.

The DOJ memo will also let A.G. Jeff Sessions pave the way for Trump to say, “You’re fired” to 5,000-6,000 federal job holders. ‘Cause hey, the fewer the inmates, the less we need guards, right? Keeping up the appearance of streamlining the Bureau of Prisons and bolstering the lobbying stranglehold of prison corporations at the same time is uuuuuuge!

A little more than a year ago, after the Bureau of Prisons deemed private facilities “less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those prisons run by the government,” corporate detention companies scrambled to find associated revenue streams. After another hit off the taxpayer crack pipethey increased their attention on immigration, reentry, and drug and alcohol treatment. With a firm hold on so many aspects of custody, these corporate giants can handle criminal justice from the top down with or without another boost like the one in the leaked memo. It won’t be long before the last refuge of municipal, state, and federal accountability will be the courtroom itself. 

With the number of private prisons set to rise to pop-up levels, offenders may soon be handed over to private detention facilities, from there to privately contracted pre-release and reentry programs, followed by privately run post-release monitoring – all overseen by publicly traded government scammers who put profits over opportunities to redirect lives. 

As critically as I’ve written about conditions in state and federal custody, my experience tells me that it’s nothing compared to corporate detention. I fear for soon-to-be incarcerated individuals in this country. And I’m not alone.

If you need a fast way to get up to speed with where your tax dollars are going, try:

The Private Prison Project

Still don’t know why you should get uppity about private prisons? Then check out:

Kids For Cash




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