The US justiciary has, for twenty-plus years in the “war on drugs”, selectively locked up far more black people than white people or Hispanic, and the US prison system is huge: the US has 2% of the world’s population but 25% of the world’s prisoners. America’s police are becoming more and more like soldiers making war on a conquered-but-not-subdued population. (via)
Police exist primarily to protect property arrangements. The war on drugs has paramilitarized police, with a heavy emphasis on overwhelming force. While police have always considered themselves above the common herd, and have always looked after themselves first and civilians second, it’s very clear that police today are much worse in this regard than they were 10 years ago, and 10 years before that, and 10 years before that. Police are well aware that they have near full immunity: they can beat people, kill people, plant evidence on people and they will, in most cases, get away with it. Even if caught on tape, the worst punishment is likely to be paid suspension.
Prisons are expensive to run? Yes, but prisoners can work long hours for a few pence per hour:
“The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners’ work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself,” says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.”
Government departments and their ministers, reshuffled
We’re in a recession heading for a depression, and George Osborne is Chancellor of the Exchequer. Osborne believes that the right thing to do when the economy is failing is to cut government spending and to make large numbers of people unemployed. Even economists who thought this theoretically might work realise it’s long since proved to be not working (Martin Wolf of the Financial Times was recommending in May that the government announce a change of plan): Nobel Prize winning economists Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, turn out – strangely enough – to know more about the economy than a man whose main qualification for being Chancellor is that he was in the Bullingdon Club with David Cameron.
Yet Osborne is set to continue cutting till May 2015. And short of revolution, we can’t get rid of him.
One3one solutions: Justice working for you – at £2 an hour or less.
Prison costs a lot of money: it’s expensive to lock someone up and keep them under guard. If we’re going to spend that kind of money on keeping people who are a danger to society out of circulation for months or years, we should be investing it sensibly and giving people opportunities to reform.
I think it’s a good thing if a prisoner who’s soon to be released from jail can do day-release work outside, get used to interacting with people outside the prison environment before they actually go out for real. I think prisoners should have options to study and get qualifications in prison. I think we should be investing money in imaginative schemes like a prison restaurant, that give prisoners a chance to learn and get work outside, in trying to make sure that once someone leaves prison, they have more options than when they went in.
Andrew Neilson, from the Howard League for Penal Reform says:
“We do welcome these opportunities [for prisoners to work] but it should be on the same basis as anyone else in the community. We don’t want the issue of prisoners on day release being employed becoming one that divides people and effectively people are turned against those prisoners because they’re seen to be taking people’s jobs. That’s not what should be happening.”
He’s talking about a situation that’s come up with a company called BecomingGreen Continue reading