America’s prisons: They want you

The prison systems of the U.S. are in a desperate need of attention. Long thought of as a place of rehabilitation and confinement, prisons were looked at by most as a place for individuals to pay their debt to society and make strides towards a better future that isn’t behind bars.

Turns out this is a complete lie — going to prison in the U.S. likely means going to work for major corporations, intense suffering and before being released back into society. Thousands of companies these days are pouring millions of dollars into what could easily be equated to slave labor.

It may seem like a decent punishment from an outside perspective — turning an ever increasing incarcerated population into a working incarcerated population — but it is actually more like a good business model because that it is really what all prisons are worried about these days.

There are more than 380 million people in the U.S. and the population is growing. We have the third largest population in the world, accounting for a minuscule 4.5 percent of the total world population. However, we do make up for this third place achievement with a first place finish in terms of accounting for 25 percent of the total amount of the prison population in the world. We have locked up more people than the population of Jamaica, and the number is growing.

You may see this figure as a shock. Prison wardens see it as an opportunity — a chance to make easy money off the hard work of others. It is a simple process that doesn’t take much effort and in the end brings in millions of dollars. First, get subcontracted by a major corporation like General Dynamics or Lockheed Martin to supply parts for weapons that they sell to the U.S. and other countries. Second, make your inmates construct these components by penalizing them with solitary confinement or beatings for refusing to work. Third, pay your “employees” change that they can spend on “$60/hr Internet” or “$10/min phone calls,” which goes right back into the prison’s pockets. Then, Lockheed gets “Made in America” printed on its missiles and the warden gets a new Bentley.

It is really despicable what U.S. prisons have become. Prisons, which I will remind you, are built with federal money — your money — are not interested in saving tax payers anything. Instead, they are more interested in funneling the cash right into your pockets. Why would prisons want to rehabilitate repeat offenders? They are repeat business.

The real problem here isn’t the crowded prisons or the greedy wardens; it is the effects this type of business has on our market and the world. Not even China or India can compete with the wages U.S. prisoners are paid. We are shoveling money into an industry that is working at its very best to take away American jobs and it needs to stop.

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