CCA GO AWAY from South Florida!

A New Petition has been launched to confront CCA in Florida

http://www.change.org/petitions/cca-go-away-from-south-florida
It’s time for ICE to cancel CCA’s proposed immigration detention center in Southwest Ranches, FL!

ICE and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) plan to build a massive immigration detention center in the Town of Southwest Ranches, just 30 minutes from Miami, FL. With 1,500 beds, this prison will be one of the largest in the country.

Since it hit the news last summer, immigrant rights’ advocates, residents and even environmentalists in South Florida, have voiced a strong and growing opposition against this new facility. The community has called on U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-20) to withdraw their current endorsements for CCA’s project. The controversy has grown to the point that the neighboring City of Pembroke Pines cut off the water that CCA needs for this development.

The will of the people has fallen on deaf ears. ICE, CCA and the Town of Southwest Ranches keep moving forward with the project.

Help us put the FREEZE on ICE and tell CCA to GO AWAY!

The Southwest Ranches center is one of several facilities that ICE seeks to build throughout the country, in partnership with for-profit prison giants like CCA and the GEO Group, notorious for neglect and abuse of detainees.

Why does ICE need more immigration detention centers? There are already approximately 34,000 beds in the U.S., and 2,400 in Florida alone. Furthermore, ICE has already deported over 1 million immigrants since 2009, and the vast majority posed no threat to society.

Expanding costly immigration detention will only benefit for-profit companies while tearing more families apart. The Obama Administration announced a change in their priorities for detentions and deportations, to focus on real national security concerns, not on separating parents from their children or deporting DREAMers who are only seeking a better future.

It’s time for ICE to stop the immigrant money making machine and tell CCA to GO AWAY.

Al Jazeera article on US prison population.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/11/20111127105458655442.html#.T45NxXqWxxA.facebook

“With 1 in 100 American adults behind bars, falling crime rates and a cash-strapped economy, the United States would seem ripe for the kinds of national reforms that might keep people out of prison. Recent polls have shown that even our law-and-order-minded citizenry would rather see penalties eased for certain criminals than pay more money to keep them locked up.

smattering of states, blue and red alike, have taken tentative steps to reduce their prison populations. Yet overall, the incarceration rate remains flat even as crime levels decrease and budget deficits grow. And on the federal level, the numbers of prisoners just keep growing; Congress, meanwhile, can’t even manage to pass a bill to study criminal justice reforms, much less make them.”

Let us remember that this pattern of locking up poor people for cheap labor in a “cash-strapped economy is nothing new and not at all unique to our time period. Most of the prison system is arranged to exploit free labor with the profit going to private hands to no benefit for the community or victims of crime.

DemNow: New Exposé Tracks ALEC-Private Prison Industry Effort to Replace Unionized Workers with Prison Labor

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/8/5/new_expos_tracks_alec_private_prison

 

AMY GOODMAN: “The Hidden History of ALEC and Prison Labor” is our next segment. Lisa Graves, of the Center for Media and Democracy, in New Orleans. I wanted to turn now to the article I just referenced, which begins: “The breaded chicken patty your child bites into at school may have been made by a worker earning twenty cents an hour, not in a faraway country, but by a member of an invisible American workforce: prisoners.”

Mike Elk is our next guest. He’s a contributing editor to The Nation magazine and has done this exposé with Bob Sloan in The Nation.

MIKE ELK: So, one of the—by far, one of the most perverse effects that ALEC has had on American society is the dramatic increase in the amount of prisoners incarcerated in this country. In 1980, there were only a half a million people incarcerated in this country. Now that number has quadrupled to nearly 2.4 million. One out of every 100 American adults is in prison, the majority of them for nonviolent drug offenses. You know, the United States has four percent of the world’s population, but yet we have 25 percent of the world’s prisoners in this country. And a big part of the reason for that is ALEC. Starting in the 1980s, ALEC, with the sponsorship of, you know, the Corrections Corporation of America—

AMY GOODMAN: And let me just remind people, ALEC is the American Legislative Exchange Council.

MIKE ELK: Yeah, ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, started passing bills in individual states to privatize prisons. So now, state—there’s prison companies that could make money by keeping people in prisons. So then ALEC—what they did after that was they got states to pass tougher drug laws, tougher laws that would put prisoners away for a long time. In fact, one of the first bills introduced in 1995, by then-Wisconsin State Representative Scott Walker, was an ALEC bill, where he cited ALEC statistics, and he was an ALEC member, where he drew his inspiration. So they put a mass amount of people in jail, and then they created a situation where they could exploit that.

And now what we’re seeing is the incredible rise of prison labor, where you have prisoners making as much as 20 cents an hour, making everything from the electronic components in guided missiles, that are being used in Libya, to breaded chicken patties that your children are eating at school, to, in fact, maybe even these office chairs we’re sitting in now. We have over 100,000 prisoners employed, working for private corporations. And before the 1990s and ALEC, this did not occur in this country.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to another clip of the interview that Terry Gross of NPR did with the ALEC chair, Noble Ellington, for an example of legislation that was introduced and passed recently in state legislatures based on model legislation drafted by ALEC members. Noble Ellington mentioned legislation on prison reform.

REP. NOBLE ELLINGTON: Well, they may start out in cooperation together, the corporations and the ALEC members. They may start out together, but only—only legislative members approve model legislation, not the private sector advisory board. And yes, in—and I’ll give you Louisiana. This year, working with the Pew Foundation, we introduced some legislation working on prison reform, trying to stop recidivism and make the time that the prisoners have to serve, attempt to shorten that.

AMY GOODMAN: Noble Ellington, the chair of ALEC, on Terry Gross’s program on NPR. Mike Elk, your response?

MIKE ELK: Well, the response now is, there are so many states that are looking to get prisoners out of prison, because it’s expensive. So what happened is, ALEC found another sponsor that could make money off of getting prisoners out of prison. So what ALEC wants to do now is reform the parole system in this country, privatize it. So now prisoners have to put up bond, with private bail bond companies that are owned by big Wall Street firms, where they have to pay outrageous fees in order to get out of prison. And this is something that we haven’t seen before.

So, ALEC, no matter the issue, can find a corporate sponsor. Look, for example, at the Arizona immigration law. My colleague at In These Times, Beau Hodai, showed that ALEC arranged meetings between the Corrections Corporation of America and the Arizona state legislators sponsoring the anti-immigration bill, because having more immigrants detained means more prisons. So, on just about any issue, ALEC can find a way that there’s a corporate partner that can profit off of it.

AMY GOODMAN: If you were at the conference in New Orleans right now, what would you be asking?

MIKE ELK: I would be asking, why are so many corporations, you know, turning to prison labor, of all things? You know, it’s become incredible in this country. You know, you see so many corporations now that going to China isn’t cheap enough anymore. You know, it’s expensive to ship stuff across seas. So they’re coming to the only source of labor that isn’t more expensive than China, which is U.S. prison population. Why are they doing that? Why is ALEC keeping so many people in prison that could be doing something more productive? We spend $60 billion a year in this country keeping people in prison. And having a captive labor workforce that corporations can profit from is just going to make it tougher to have prison reform in this country.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, the issue of prison labor versus union labor?

MIKE ELK: Well, as we saw already in Wisconsin, you see now prison labor replacing, you know, unionized public workers, where the prison labor, you know, working in road crews in Racine, Wisconsin, is not getting paid anything. So we’re seeing that come in. We’re seeing factories close down in this country that were employing unionized prison labor, and instead we’re now shifting to prison labor. For instance, in the state of Florida, the largest printing company is Prison Industries. So, now there’s not even a market anymore. So we’re seeing increasingly American workers having to not compete just against Chinese labor that’s forced and exploited, but forced and exploited labor in this own country.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, we have to break, and then we’re going to go back to another story in New Orleans, but we’ve just been talking about the processing of meat. Talk about the story from 2005 around prisoners and meat.

MIKE ELK: My co-author, Bob Sloan, who’s an ex-offender, who actually worked in Prison Industries and has dedicated his life to unveiling, you know, the tragedy of Prison Industries, showed how ATL Industries, back in 2005, had 14 million pounds of beef that they knew was infected with rat feces. Now, many people raised the alarms, and they were even trying to pressure ATL Industries to recall the beef. However, the USDA wouldn’t let them recall the beef, even through a voluntary recall, because they didn’t want to draw attention to how much meat and how many other products in this country are being made by prison labor. So, we have an industry, prison labor, for example, in ’95, the U.S. government passed a law, the federal government, that now the regulating body for Prison Industries is not the Department Justice, but the National Correctional Industries Association. This is sort of like turning over bank regulation to the American Bankers Association. So we’re seeing an industry that’s basically completely unregulated and poses a great threat, not just to American workers, but to the mouths and health of, you know, American children and adults.

AMY GOODMAN: Mike Elk, I want to thank you very much for being with us, contributing editor at The Nation magazine, exposé in The Nation called “The Hidden History of ALEC and Prison Labor.” We’ll link to it at democracynow.org.

New Report Finds Private Prisons a Threat to Criminal Justice Reform

This is a an article from Noelle de la Paz at colorlines.com
http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/11/new_report_finds_private_prisons_a_threat_to_criminal_justice_reform.html

A new report released by the American Civil Liberties Union puts the spotlight on the disturbing realities of prison privatization, a multi-billion dollar industry that has exploded in the past three decades. “Banking on Bondage: Private Prisons and Mass Incarceration” is the first comprehensive analysis of privatization’s destructive impacts on the already overgrown prison industry.
Read More…

Prison4Profit Launched

Many of America’s prisons are run by for profit corporations. These corporations argue that their model is superior to the state run prison systems. The reality is that they are built to maximize profit and minimize costs. The cost cutting affects security directly as human resources are pushed to the limit and measures that are more costly but effective are ignored in favor of saving money.

Along side these prisons are additional service industries that fleece families who are unfortunately in contact with the prisons because family members or loved ones are locked up. In many cases, detention centers are housing people who haven’t yet stood trial. If innocent, the prisoner and family have now been fleeced of resources and suffered false imprisonment for the sake of a dollar.

What civilized people bank their resource gains on vices or alleged vices?
Prisons should be a place of last resort for those who cannot function in society by judgement of their peers. It shouldn’t be a slave system that creates shareholder opportunities for companies like Corrections Corporation of America.  CCA has posted profits of over $1.4 Billion in past years.

This is a not for profit site dedicated to information. We do this work in memory of Edward Kenzakoski and others who have suffered because of the profit motives that drive greedy men like Judge Mark Ciavarella. Ciavarella was sentenced to 27 years in prison for locking up kids for a kickback. One of those children was a young man named Edward Kenzakoski. Edward killed himself as a consequence of his incarceration. We cannot bring him back but we can press to make sure this never happens again. We can work to serve greater accountability to the other children also harmed by Ciavarella and others who haven’t been yet discovered for the same practice.

If you have information about a part of the private prison industry that you need to discuss, drop us a message and lets work together to provide the greatest accountability for our society.