10/03/2011

Prison Reform: People vs. Profit?


40 Years after launching the War on Drugs, 46 years since passing the Voting Rights Act, and 63 years since ratifying the UN Declaration of Human Rights, America is a nation of unparalleled incarceration.  The economic and legal culture has allowed for-profit prisons to turn over $3 Billion in profits last year.  Furthermore, for-profit corporations operate over 50% of detention facilities for children.
For-Profit prisons, prior to the Citizens United ruling (allowing unfettered campaign contributions), have given over $7 million dollars towards elections in the past five cycles.  These corporations are drafting anti-immigrant legislation to drive up the amount of people spending a single day or an entire year in their facilities. One message from CEO to shareholders (inciting whatever individual influence they wield) is that there cannot be any decriminalization of drug or immigration policies.
The organizations, advocates, lawyers, researchers, convicted people, and service providers who generally stand at the front lines represent so many people fighting the power of prison profits.  Non-Profits vs. For-Profits.  In 2008, philanthropic giving to the Criminal Justice sector (of all varieties) totaled just over $200 million.
A burgeoning network is in development to facilitate better cooperation and innovation on the side of People.  Join the network by clicking THIS LINK.  CJFAN is currently in structural development with the Advisory Committee and Network Building Team; networkers (including web 2.0 developers) are encouraged to get involved.
For more information on the growing overt influence of profits upon criminal justice policies, read the Justice Policy Institute report,

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