The Prison State of America by Chris Hedges

prison bars

Chris Hedges is an author and social activist I read quite often.  I have a few books on my knowledge shelf penned by this cat.  In this article, he again explains the ‘slavery’ system inside federal and state prisons.

Chris Hedges:  “Prisons are not, finally, about race, although poor people of color suffer the most. They are not even about being poor. They are prototypes for the future. They are emblematic of the disempowerment and exploitation that corporations seek to inflict on all workers. If corporate power continues….if it is not impeded by mass protests and revolt, life outside prison will soon resemble life in prison”. Read Full Article: The Prison State of America

Recommended Reading

Derrick Bell: Faces at the Bottom of the Well 

Douglas A. Blackmon: Slavery by Another Name

Michelle Alexander: The New Jim Crow-Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Study Finds Metal Detectors More Common in High-Minority Schools

By Sarah D. Parks Minority students in a high-poverty neighborhood are more likely to pass through a metal detector on the way to class than their better-off and white peers are, even if the schools are equally safe, according to new research.

“It’s not that the more violent schools get metal detectors, or even the urban schools get metal detectors—though that’s true,” said co-author Aaron Kupchik, an associate professor in sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware. “It’s that schools with more students of color are more likely to get metal detectors, at every level, even elementary levels.”

Read Complete Story: Here

Young Black Males & Prison Incarceration

black boy in prison

According to Boothe (2007), African American male children have little chance of succeeding in life. For example, the chances of an African American male becoming:

an NFL player is 1 in 1,250

an NBA player is 1 in 4,600

a Ph.D. in engineering, mathematics, or the physical sciences is 1 in 2,000

a doctor is 1 in 548

a lawyer is 1 in 195

a teacher is 1 in 53

On the other hand, the same African-American boy probability for prison incarceration is 1 in 13 before dying; they have a 1 in 3 chance of being a felon; a 1 in 7 chance of never graduating from high school; a 1 in 6 chance of graduating from college; and a 50:50 chance of becoming a drug abuser…

Black boy adolescents are 46 times more likely to be sent to a juvenile detention facility than Caucasian adolescents.

The dismal picture of African-American boys seems lost or at least not important enough for a social movement. The author feels that the acceptance of Black boys being an endangered species influence indifference by society and the Black community.

As always, countless Black pontificates fill national news shows articulating black boys’ demise, however, the announcements of a social movement remains a moot point. When will the Black community stop the generational destruction of Black boys?

Subsequently, we watch in calmness as they drop out of school and join the ‘Prison Armed Forces.’ Sadly, being locked up has become dramatized with MSNBC running countless loops of prison life. The show as well as others like it seems to say incarceration isn’t all that bad, YIKES!!! Black boys are in a bad way in America, unschooled, truant, and a valuable commodity to the private prison industry.

In short, the Black church as usual is incapable of enacting any real transformation in the hood. Preachers and pastors run the game of ‘faith & hope’ to Black mothers whose boys are locked away on extensive bits in prisons across the nation. Where are the social programs to address the exodus of Black boys on the slave ships called ‘Mass Incarceration’?

The Invisible Dragon


Boothe, D. (2007). Why are so many black men in prison?: Full Surface Publishing.

Experts Call for Early Focus on Black Boys’ Nonacademic Skills

Education Week: Experts Call for Early Focus on Black Boys’ Nonacademic Skills

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

Texas Teachers May Get Access To Confidential Student Criminal Histories

Texas Teachers May Get Access To Confidential Student Criminal Histories

juvenile_jail_0320I believe this law creates another barrier for students of color specifically African-American and Latino male students. I am concerned young colored boys who are presently seen as anti-intellectual and troublesome will receive even more negative prejudicial treatments. As such, Texas’ public school teachers may now present a student as a threat after reading their criminal record and have the student removed from their classroom.

What argument could the student present in their defense?

In America, a criminal record is a death sentence; regardless if the crime was felonious or not. As a result, the accused’ employment opportunities fade swiftly and everyday survival becomes vital. In addition, boys of color already feel alienated from public education and this law drops another (racial profiling) rock upon their heads. In the end, this law will hasten boys’ suspensions, expulsions and eventually personal hardship.   It’s simply math, color boys’ who are not in schools are on track to the prison industry system.  Thanks Texas for helping the prison enrollment swell with fresh faces.


Robert A. Williams