5 posts tagged prisons
There are two very large and influential prison companies in the United States who are manipulating the system to make sure they have plenty of business: The GEO Group (formerly Wackenhut) and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). In the first part of this two-part series, I will explore The GEO Group’s influence peddling; next week, I will look at CCA.
If you have any doubt in your mind that improving society and lowering the number of prisoners in our country (normally considered a worthy social goal) is a threat to the prison industry business, all you need to do is to read about that concern in The GEO Group’s 2011 annual report:
In particular, the demand for our correctional and detention facilities and services and BI’s [a prison industry company Geo acquired in 2011] services could be adversely affected by changes in existing criminal or immigration laws, crime rates in jurisdictions in which we operate, the relaxation of criminal or immigration enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction, sentencing or deportation practices, and the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by criminal laws or the loosening of immigration laws. For example, any changes with respect to the decriminalization of drugs and controlled substances could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, sentenced and incarcerated, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them. Similarly, reductions in crime rates could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and sentences requiring incarceration at correctional facilities. Immigration reform laws which are currently a focus for legislators and politicians at the federal, state and local level also could materially adversely impact us.
This is an industry that needs misery, long sentences, rounded-up undocumented immigrants and increasing crime to flourish. In order to keep the prison beds filled, The GEO Group and others have paid out millions of dollars to lobbyists, federal and state legislators, and governors to allow our immigration problem to go unsolved, to make sure that no drugs are decriminalized and that an ineffective War on Drugs continues, and to make certain that long term prison sentences, like California’s three-strikes-and-you’re-imprisoned-for-life laws, keep a steady flow of revenue and profits flowing to their shareholders. They are also hoping that our national drop in crime is just a temporary trend.
Youth Unemployment Sky Rockets To Highest Rate Ever Recored
Youth unemployment in Greece is about 48%. In the US, youths 18-24 have an unemployment rate of 45.7%. The highest rate since the government began tracking such information.
Squeezed by a tight job market, young Americans are especially struggling. They have suffered bigger income losses than other age groups and are less likely to be employed than at any time since World War II.
An analysis by the Pew Research Center, released Thursday, details the impact of the recent recession on the attitudes of a generation of mostly 20- and 30-somethings.
With government data showing record gaps in employment between young and old, a Pew survey found that 41 percent of Americans believe that younger adults have been hit harder than any other group, compared with 29 percent who say middle-aged Americans and 24 percent who point to seniors 65 and older. A wide majority of the public - at least 69 percent - also said it’s more difficult for today’s young adults than their parents’ generation to pay for college, find a job, buy a home or save for the future.
Among young adults ages 18 to 34, only a third rated their financial situation as “excellent” or “good,” compared with 54 percent for seniors age 65 and over. In 2004, before the recession began, about half of both young and older adults rated their own financial situation highly.
“Young workers are on the bottom of the ladder, and during a recession like we’ve had, it’s often hard for them to hold on.
They are clearly less satisfied with their current circumstances than they were before the recession. This may be where some of the anger and frustration being expressed in the Occupy movement is rooted.
They have a long way to climb back, and a lot of displaced workers to compete with.”
said Kim Parker, associate director of Pew’s Social & Demographic Trends project. She noted that some have been heavily involved in the nationwide “Occupy” protests over economic disparity.
At risk of becoming a “lost generation,” many young adults are going back to school or scraping by on waitressing, bartending and odd jobs as they wait for the economy to slowly recover.
- The share of young adults 18-24 who are employed has dropped to 54.3 percent, the lowest level since the government began tracking such data in 1948.
- Young adults working full time have median weekly earnings of $448, about 6 percent less than in 2007
- About 19 percent of men ages 25-34 were idle in the weak job market, neither working nor attending school. That’s up from 14 percent in 2007.
- Fewer than half of young adults who are currently working say they have the education and skills necessary to advance in their careers.
Although youth unemployment is at it’s highest, 43 percent said they were extremely or very confident that they could find another job if they lost or left their current one despite opposing statistics.
Take Action for Rikers’ Island Prisoners! Demand the City Create an Emergency Evacuation Plan
Mayor Bloomberg has announced that in the event of a hurricane, that he will not evacuate prisoners at Rikers’ Island, claiming instead to have a “contingency plan” in place. The experience of prisoners in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina shows that city authorities will abandon the basic rights of prisoners in the face of disaster.
We can’t let Bloomberg get away with this!
(1.) Demand the city create an emergency evacuation plan by 5pm today to evacuate prisoners at Rikers Island in the event that other areas in Zone B or C around Rikers Island are evacuated.
Call NYC Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs at (212) 788-2485
(2.) Call on NY1 to investigate the status of the “contingency plan” for Rikers Island prisoners:
(3.) Submit evacuation plan demand to city’s website:
-Go to http://nycsevereweather.crowdmap.com/reports/submit/ –this is a website set up by the city for people to submit weather-related service problems. Locate Rikers Island on the map and drag the red marker there.
-Copy and paste this text (or write your own!):
Title: Evacuation plan needed
The city has no evacuation plan for Rikers Island, despite its low elevation and its nearly 13,000 prisoners. Please do not let these individuals, or the ones at the nearby floating Vernon C. Bain Correction Center, suffer.
(4.) Please repost:
Locked Up and Left Behind: New York’s Prisoners and Hurricane Irene
“We are not evacuating Rikers Island,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a news conference this afternoon. Bloomberg annouced a host of extreme measures being taken by New York City in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, including a shutdown of the public transit system and the unprecedented mandatory evacuation of some 250,000 people from low-lying areas. But in response to a reporter’s question, the mayor stated in no uncertain terms (and with more than a hint of annoyance) that one group of New Yorkers on vulnerable ground will be staying put.
New York City is surrounded by small islands and barrier beaches, and a glance at the city’s evacuation map reveals all of them to be in Zone A (already under a mandatory evacuation order) or Zone B–all, that is, save one. Rikers Island, which lies in the waters between Queens and the Bronx, is not highlighted at all, meaning it is not to be evacuated under any circumstances.
According to the New York City Department of Corrections’ own website, more than three-quarters of Rikers Island’s 400 acres are built on landfill–which is generally thought to be more vulnerable to natural disasters. Its ten jails have a capacity of close to 17,000 inmates, and normally house at least 12,000, including juveniles and large numbers of prisoners with mental illness–not to mention pre-trial detainees who have yet to be convicted of any crime.
Incidentally one of the areas of activism I pursued while living in New York was evacuation plans for regional prisons, not only for weather events but also in the event of a catastrophic nuclear meltdown. If you’re familiar with the region, you may be familiar with the Indian Point nuclear power plant, an outdated cracking 50-year-old facility which has leaked radiation on several occasions in recent years. It sits on the Hudson River a short ride from Sing Sing, and in the event of a nuclear meltdown, evacuation plans call for Sing Sing to be locked and abandoned with all inmates still inside. The only sure solution is actually to shut down Indian Point — and we managed to get as far as county hearings on the question, but didn’t manage to cross the finish line and shut it down. In the meantime, the inhumanity of evacuation plans is a point for agitation and reform, and Irene provides an opportunity to engage that debate.
Now’s a good time (no actually, a couple weeks ago was a good time, really) to read up on disaster preparedness & relief outside of the government. Here’s a zine, Insurrectionary Mutual Aid, that we distro and that I really like, about organizing for disasters (natural/manmade/political, etc.) as communities and from an anarchist framework. What got me really paying attention to disaster relief was the immigration raids here a few years ago, and everyone sorting out what families needed in the aftermath of it, and seeing that as a disaster as well, just an intentional one.