From the article…“Stanley Howard, the founder of the Chicago-based Law and Civics Literacy Institute for Urban Males, wondered how educators can best boost educational outcomes for African-American males in a political context in which many Americans seem to be thinking: “Now you have a black president. What are you still crying about, bellyaching about?” He added, “What if black boys are economically obsolete?”
Black boys who become men (If homicide or suicide doesn’t fall upon them) are economically viable in our society: They feed the prison industrial complex, Black men are incarcerated at an alarming rate in America. We know that there more than likely to be locked up six times more than their white counterpart. The rate among Black men is 3,119 per 100,000. (Heather West, William J. Sabol, and Sarah J. Greenman, “Prisoners in 2009,” Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin, December 2010.)
The Rise of Prison-Industrial Complex
- In the last 3 decades – prison industrial complex had been developed in the US– confluence of special interests that has given prison construction in the United States a seemingly unstoppable momentum.
- Since 1991 the rate of violent crime in the United States has fallen by about 20 percent, while the number of people in prison or jail has risen by 50 percent. Increase because of imprisonment of people who have committed nonviolent offenses. Instead of community service, fines, or drug treatment – to a prison term, by far the most expensive form of punishment.
- politicians, both liberal and conservative, who have used the fear of crime to gain votes;
- impoverished rural areas where prisons have become a cornerstone of economic development;
- private companies tap into $35 billion a year spending on prisons
- Spending on corrections since 1980s increased 5 times; there are more than 1000 vendors that sell corrections paraphernalia;
- The growth projected 5-10% annually;
- Private prisons keep 90,000 prisoners from 27 states
- “Bed brokers,” rent a cell facilities ($20 to $60 a day with $2.50-5.50 commission per man-day); trucking prisoners hundreds of miles through the country – threat to public order; escapes;
- Wackenhut Corrections, second largest private-prison company has ravenous $1 billion a year;
- U.S. Corrections Corporation – the largest private-prison company wants to buy and run all state of Taxes’ prisons;
- globalization of the private-prison business: British private-prison company, Securicor, operates two facilities in Florida; Wackenhut Corrections is now under contract to operate prison in England; three prisons in Australia; and a prison in Scotland. It is actively seeking prison contracts in South Africa.
- 1 pay phone in prison generates $15,000 a year; MCI installs phones for free;
- Government officials whose fiefdoms have expanded along with the inmate population.
The Invisible Dragon