Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

For Profit Prisons and the War on Drugs

For Profit Prisons and the War on Drugs

The U.S. federal government spent over $15 billion dollars in 2010 on the War on Drugs, at a rate of about $500 per second.

Arrests for drug law violations this year are expected to exceed the 1,663,582 arrests of 2009. Law enforcement made more arrests for drug abuse violations (an estimated 1.6 million arrests, or 13.0 percent of the total number of arrests) than for any other offense in 2009. Someone is arrested for violating a drug law every 19 seconds.

What is the War on Drugs?

The War on Drugs is a term that is applied to a campaign of prohibition and foreign military aid and military intervention undertaken by the United States government with the assistance of participating countries and the stated aim to define and reduce the illegal drug trade. This “war on drugs” also includes a set of drug policies in the United States that are intended to discourage the production, distribution, and consumption of illegal psychoactive drugs. The term “war on drugs” was first used by U.S. president Richard Nixon and was later popularized by the media.

What for Profit Prisons have to do with the War on Drugs

Since December 31, 1995, the U.S. prison population has grown an average of 43,266 inmates per year. About 25 per cent are sentenced for drug law violations.

Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest operator of for profit prisons, has sent letters recently to 48 states offering to buy up their prisons as a remedy for “challenging corrections budgets.” In exchange, the company is asking for a 20-year management contract, plus an assurance that the prison would remain at least 90 percent full, according to an article in the Huffington Post

Corrections Corporation has been has grown very quickly, their revenues have gone up at least 5 times the amount they were since the mid-1990s. The company capitalized on the expansion of state prison systems in the ’80s and ’90s which happened to be at the peak of the so-called ‘war on drugs,’ contracting with state governments to build or manage new prisons to house an influx of drug offenders. During the past 10 years, the Correction Corporation has been in the business of locking up undocumented immigrants. What for-profit prisons due is they make money based on keep their prisons full-at the stated 90% mentioned above. “It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Shakyra Diaz, policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio. “In order to have it at 90 percent, you need to be able to make criminals to fill it at 90 percent.”

Which means people always need to be going to jail, even if it is for something such as a drug offense-and guess what? Those people need to be going to jail for a long time. The War on Drugs is a perfect way to keep the for profit prisons full and here is how. Make drugs illegal in order to create criminals out of drug users (typically addicts and alcoholics who need drug and alcohol treatment) then throw them in jail for a ridiculously long time and keep the for-profit prison at 90%. And this doesn’t just apply to drug charges it also applies to robberies and assaults or any criminal charge that had alcohol or drugs involved with them. Most of the time people who are in for assault were on drugs at the time and the same goes for robberies. Granted this is a different criminal offense but they need help for their drug addiction not to be funding a for profit prison. Either way, we live in a society that turns drug addicts into criminals with our laws then punishes them all for a monetary gain. It is kind of sickening.


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