Thursday, June 7, 2012

America's Corporatist Prison Industrial Complex

Americans are well aware of the Military Industrial Complex and have expressed seriously valid concerns over the vast unconstitutional powers that the US military wields over America ever since President Eisenhower uttered those now infamous words in his farewell speech with the warning "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

America hasn't been dubbed "Prison Planet" by civil liberty activists for no reason. We imprison more folks than any nation on the planet and by a wide margin. According to the International Centre for Prison Studies, America, with a population of 310 million, has over 2.2 million folks in prison and China, a nation with a population of 1.3 billion, has far less folks in prison.

1.  United States of America 2,266,832
2.  China 1,640,000
3.  Russian Federation 738,400
4.  Brazil 514,582
5.  India 368,998
6.  Iran 250,000
7.  Thailand 234,678
8.  Mexico 230,943
9.  South Africa 157,375
10.Ukraine 153,508

Does America really have more crime than other nation? No, and violent crime in America has actually and dramatically decreased. The New York Times reports:
The number of violent crimes in the United States dropped significantly last year, to what appeared to be the lowest rate in nearly 40 years, a development that was considered puzzling partly because it ran counter to the prevailing expectation that crime would increase during a recession.
In all regions, the country appears to be safer. The odds of being murdered or robbed are now less than half of what they were in the early 1990s, when violent crime peaked in the United States. Small towns, especially, are seeing far fewer murders: In cities with populations under 10,000, the number plunged by more than 25 percent last year.
If crime rates are plunging in America, why do we have the highest prison population on the planet? It's a valid question. America has become a place where just about every possible human activity has been criminalized.  This is largely attributable to America's private and public Prison Industrial Complex that lobbies federal and state legislatures and fills political campaign coffers to get more and more routine behaviors criminalized.

Take marijuana.  America has endured an explosion of marijuana arrests and most of these arrests are for just possession of small quantities.

Under President Obama, the war on marijuana has intensified and Obama's Department of Justice is actually performing military style armed raids on legal medical marijuana businesses in states that legalized medical marijuana. The Obama War on Marijuana has not only gone viral but is the butt end of cyberspace jokes, along with this Reefer President photo.

Obama Smokes

Radio talk show host Penn Jillette succinctly stated that if Obama was arrested under his own laws, he wouldn't even be president because he'd be a convicted felon.
Do we believe, even for a second, that if Obama had been busted for marijuana -- under the laws that he condones -- would his life have been better? If Obama had been caught with the marijuana that he says he uses, and 'maybe a little blow'... if he had been busted under his laws, he would have done hard fucking time. And if he had done time in prison, time in federal prison, time for his 'weed' and 'a little blow,' he would not be President of the United States of America. He would not have gone to his fancy-ass college, he would not have sold books that sold millions and millions of copies and made millions and millions of dollars, he would not have a beautiful, smart wife, he would not have a great job. He would have been in fucking prison, and it's not a goddamn joke. People who smoke marijuana must be set free. It is insane to lock people up.
Of course, like everything else in America, it's always about money.  Who is spending the big lobbying bucks to keep marijuana illegal?  The biggest lobbies against legalizing marijuana are police unions, prison guards, big pharmaceutical companies, private prison corporations and the beer/booze industry, here.

America's Prison Industrial Complex is a growing and hugely profitable industry and Police State USA has reached a crisis point.  Civil liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate wrote a book titled Three Felonies a Day.  Silverglate says that the average American unwittingly commits 3 felonies a day without even knowing it!

Many have jokingly quipped that America has morphed into a full fledged Nazified Police State.  It's no joke folks.  We are all criminals now.

The Prison Industrial Complex is the spawn of the Military Industrial Complex.

Judy Morris

Twitter: judy morris@judymorris3


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