The success of GEO, CCA, LPE, and UNICOR is predicated on human misery. These for-profit corporations use prisoner slave labor to capitalize on the boom in the U.S. incarceration rate over the last 30 years. In its “Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 for the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2010, Form 10-K,” CCA stated:
“The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws. For instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.”
Thus, the prisoner-industrial-complex in the United States is dependent on the slavery of human beings for profit. And so, individual human life stays in perpetual bondage due to greed-a decidedly immoral National institution that lacks any grounding in the concepts of Justice, Law, Liberty, and Freedom.
The prisoner class in America lives as slaves. This statement is not based on the constitutionally grounded slavery experienced by those currently in prison. The 13th Amendment clearly allows slavery to exist within the prisoner-industrial-complex.
However, the firmly established concept of recidivism that leads to further incarceration creates a system in which humans are held in perpetual bondage. The criminal justice system in the United States decapitalizes human beings and makes them slaves. And because the system never recapitalizes those made less than human, the problem that arises is simple:
once a slave
always a slave.
Decapitalizationis the systematic removal of rights and the physical rites of dehumanization performed against the prisoner. Creating uniform appearance and applying a numeric identity during in processing necessarily removes individuality. And that individuality is replaced with the common label criminal.
Today, the prisoner class in America is made up of those who are now out of prison and those who have pled guilty to a lesser crime in order to stay out of prison. In an interview onFrontline, Judge Michael McSpadden answered the following question:
FRONTLINE: So fundamentally, the system is the plea bargain?
McSPADDEN: The system right now is plea bargain, with a few cases being tried. Those few cases being tried set the standard for everybody in determining what to do with the 95 percent, 96 percent of the plea bargain cases. That's exactly right. I wish it were just the opposite, but it will never be (McSpadden).
Both groups (those on parole/probation and those who have pled into the prisoner class) are statistically assured that a majority will be incarcerated sometime in the future.
According to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ):
“Recidivism is one of the most fundamental concepts in criminal justice. It refers to a person's relapse into criminal behavior, often after the person receives sanctions or undergoes intervention for a previous crime. Recidivism is measured by criminal acts that resulted in rearrest, reconviction or return to prison with or without a new sentence during a three-year period following the prisoner's release” (United).
The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) found that “Overall, 67.8% of the 404,638 state prisoners released in 2005 in 30 states were arrested within 3 years of release, and 76.6% were arrested within 5 years of release” (Cooper).
The prisoner-industrial complex in the United States operates a perpetual machine of recidivism in which once caught in the gears the prisoner is never free again, caught forever in the Machine of Recidivism.
The prisoner is “A person who…is confined to a place or position” (Prisoner). The place, the prisoner-industrial-complex itself (the prison) is a set location in which slave labor is concentrated. The position in the broader society is the prisoner class in the United States. A group of nearly 100 million [a]mericans now share the lowest common denominator in society. This position in the social stratification of the United States could be referred to as the bottom rung, except the ladder analogy of American culture implies the ability to climb the rungs, which is no longer possible for the prisoner class.
Cooper, Alexia, Matthew Durose, and Howard Snyder. United States. Dept. of Justice. Recidivism Of Prisoners Released In 30 States In 2005 To 2010. NCJ 244205. Apr. 2014. Web.
“Prisoner,” Def. 3.a. Oxford English Dictionary. Web. 9 July 2014.
United States. Dept. of Justice. “Recidivism.” National Institute of Justice. Corrections. 17 June 2014. Web. 9 July 2014.
machine of recidivism
Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865.
Note: A portion of Article IV, section 2, of the U.S. Constitution was superseded by the 13th amendment.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
• a new source of labor
• profit over people
Before the passage of the 13th Amendment the population could be divided into two groups: Americans and prisoner/criminal/slave/outlaw or simply prisoner. After the Blacks were made free in the United States (not Citizens due to their inability to vote), the antithesis of freedom changed to prisoner/criminal/outlaw or simply prisoner, as slavery was abolished. However, the caveat in the 13th Amendment created a new slave in America, and that term is simply prisoner.
The end of the Civil War brought the period of Reconstruction in the South. Without the slave population that maintained the infrastructure of the South, a new source of slave labor was necessary - the prisoner. And the most recognizable use of slave/hard labor in prisoner populations in the South was the chain gang. After the passage of the 13th Amendment the South had an abundance of chains and iron bracelets that had recently become unnecessary, directly linking chain gangs to slavery.