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Jails emptied in the pandemic. Should they stay that way?

14 Comments
By WEIHUA LI, BETH SCHWARTZAPFEL and MICHAEL R SISAK

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14 Comments
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America needs to resolve its prison population which is the world's largest at 2.3 million.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

zichi:

... and no wonder it’s the world’s largest if they jail people for shoplifting $63 dollars worth of sheets.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

From what I heard there's a lot of money to be made by having people in U.S jails, is that true?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

From what I heard there's a lot of money to be made by having people in U.S jails, is that true?

Yup. It's a private enterprise, run for profit. If there are no prisoners, there is no profit. It's a monolith that cannot stop due to people obeying the law more, as that would bankrupt a portion of the population. So instead they make laws that put people in jail, that never would happen in other countries.

America, land of the free and imprisoned.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@Strangerland

Yup. It's a private enterprise, run for profit. If there are no prisoners, there is no profit. It's a monolith that cannot stop due to people obeying the law more, as that would bankrupt a portion of the population. So instead they make laws that put people in jail, that never would happen in other countries.

America, land of the free and imprisoned.

Not just private prisons but also local governments prey on citizens mostly minorities. Reports showed that Ferguson police systematically stopped black drivers and ticketed them more than white drivers who violated the same infractions but were let off on a warning. They also found evidence and email records of white government workers cancelling tickets for white friends.

In a poor community, people being preyed on for overpriced tickets and fines that they cannot afford lead to impounding of vehicles, warrants, arrests, and deaths. Each one of the consequences means that another member of that community will likely become more impoverished and/or unemployed sometime afterwards. That is another channel of the pipeline to prison or grave for minorities in the US.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

US police were original created to recapture runaway slaves (slave patrols). Then they were used to terrorize minorities after slavery to maintain social class and segregation. Later in the late 20th century, police and prisons were used as a way to remove political adversaries, black people and other minorities civil liberties Now US police and prisons are being used to make money by privatizing to supply slave labor like China and charging the government each month for every bed that is filled. Thus, the more beds, the more money that is made. Judges have been caught and some going to prison for receiving kickbacks to give harsher sentences to people typically minorities. The prison guard unions also influence state legislatures to pass stricter and tougher laws while giving police immunity or any accountability for their own unlawful actions.

Not all people currently in these jobs are corrupt and/or racist, but enough are or were to maintain a system originally designed to support and encourage supremacy over certain groups of people in the US.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

As of 2019, 8.1% of prisoners in the USA were held in jails operated by private companies. However, unless one is overly cynical, 0% of judges are employed as such by private companies. American prisons are not full of innocent people - some held for relatively petty offenses, yes, but offenses nevertheless. Without consequences thieves will simply become more bold. Witness Portland and Seattle.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

@Anonymous

As of 2019, 8.1% of prisoners in the USA were held in jails operated by private companies. However, unless one is overly cynical, 0% of judges are employed as such by private companies. American prisons are not full of innocent people - some held for relatively petty offenses, yes, but offenses nevertheless. Without consequences thieves will simply become more bold. Witness Portland and Seattle.

Kids-for-cash judge released from prison over virus concerns

https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/kids-cash-judge-released-prison-virus-concerns-71409814

A former Pennsylvania judge involved in a scheme to send children to a for-profit jail in exchange for kickbacks was released from federal prison with six years left on his sentence because of coronavirus concerns

Yes, it happens!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

0% of judges are employed as such by private companies.

Why would a judge work for the private prison companies when they can already get kickbacks from them?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@anonymous

A former Pennsylvania judge involved in a scheme to send children to a for-profit jail in exchange for kickbacks was released from federal prison with six years left on his sentence because of coronavirus concerns

He is not the only one. Mark Ciavarella Jr was convicted of doing the same thing.

Ciavarella, 58, along with Conahan, 56, corruptly and fraudulently "created the potential for an increased number of juvenile offenders to be sent to juvenile detention facilities," federal court documents alleged. Children would be placed in private detention centers, under contract with the court, to increase the head count. In exchange, the two judges would receive kickbacks.

Pennsylvania rocked by 'jailing kids for cash' scandal

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/02/23/pennsylvania.corrupt.judges/

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Anyone who thinks that the existence of a for-profit prison system won't lead to them paying off judges for prisoners is living in a delusion, free of reality on how the world actually works.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Penal reform is essential, but vested interests in the form of the police, guards' unions, prosecutors, private investors and local and state governments are standing in the way. Many US prisons were initially built with taxpayer money, then either sold or leased to private companies to operate of profit, with guarantees of a certain percentage occupancy - all paid for by putting non-violent offenders in prison on the public's dime. Essentially, the prison-for-profit system is a latter-day counterpart of the old plantation system, a place where money is made by a white overclass on the backs of captive young black and hispanic men.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

America needs its slave labor so it cannot afford to reduce the prison population. It's a multi-billion-dollar industry with incarcerated people doing everything from building office furniture and making military equipment to staffing call centers and doing 3D modeling.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why on earth would you send someone to jail for a $63 shoplifting offense?

Give him fee weekends of community service if you want to , but jail is not for offenses like that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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