Race in private prisons: Young Latinos & Blacks “cherry picked” by inferior private prison industrial complexFebruary 23, 2014
Most overrepresented in US prisons are people of color: African Americans and Latinos constitute 30 percent of the US population, yet they comprise 60 percent of its prisoners. That said, not only are African Americans and Latinos more likely to be arrested and jailed, but a new study by University of California-Berkeley researcher Christopher Petrella disclosed that people of color are likely than whites to serve time in private prisons — which has higher levels of recidivism and violence. These institutions also provide inadequate educational programming and healthcare when compared to public facilities.
The research involved compared the percentage of Latinos and Blacks in private and public prisons in nine states. Each state, at different percentages, had higher rates of people of color residing in private facilities than public facilities.
Inmates released from private prisons experienced recidivism — the tendency to relapse into criminal behavior, at an average rate three percent higher than public prisons. Many factors contribute to this, including the fact that younger inmates in private prisons are sought after for reason of exploitation and low maintenance costs, and not rehabilitation.
The higher rate of recidivism ranged from an excess of three percent in Arizona and Georgia to 13 percent in Oklahoma and California. The researcher indicated that the disparity casts doubt on claims of cost-efficiency made by the private prison industry, also it demonstrates how “ostensibly ‘colorblind’ policies can have a very real effect on people of color.”
The study showed links between inmate’s age and race; private prisons contract a higher rate of inmates of color, and a majority of inmates are under the age of 50. Older inmates tend to be medically expensive, and exemption from housing individuals of a certain age means that costs are kept low and profits are kept high. The war on drugs draws a great deal of young people of color toward private prisons; while older whites, who are more like to arrested, are placed in public prisons . By denying older inmates, private prisons are also denying white inmates because are only 33.2 percent of white prisoners under the age of 50, a vast majority is 50+.
High-level quotas must be maintained even as crime rates drop, and the growth of the prison industry’s prioritization of profit over rehabilitation are dynamics that show that there criminal-like activity conducted by those behind the locks and the key holders. Non-white communities have been disproportionally affected for the last 40 years, and now they are cherry-picked and delivered to inferior private prisons.
Being younger, having superior health and being brown seems to be quintessential traits when selecting inmates for private prisons. These facilities, after all, aim to scout inmates with “a prisoner profile that is far younger and far ‘darker’ … than in select counterpart public facilities.”
"Given the data, it’s difficult for private prisons to make the claim that they can incarcerate individuals more efficiently than their public counterparts," Petrella tells Mother Jones. "We need to be comparing apples to apples. If we’re looking at different prisoner profiles, there is no basis to make the claim that private prisons are more efficient than publics."
ACLU National Prison Project’s David Shapiro agreed with Petrella’s findings, stating, “The study is an example of the many ways in which for-profit prisons create an illusion of fiscal responsibility even though the actual evidence of cost savings, when apples are compared to apples, is doubtful at best. Privatization gimmicks are a distraction from the serious business of addressing our addiction to mass incarceration.”
However, the addiction is not only mass incarceration, but the incarceration and longterm containment of a particular demographic. Blacks and Latinos are snared by private prisons. They are exploited, and they are “leased” to private companies. The private prison industry reaps massive rewards from the government and from private prison executives who feign superiority over the public sector. But, both “deprive individuals of freedom, wrests loved ones from their families, and drains the resources of governments, communities, and taxpayers, the private prison industry reaps lucrative rewards.” Private prisons also normalizes segregation and relapse.
Demanding a high enrollment in academic, vocational and substance abuse programming, and recruiting in an equal amount of white inmates would create a balance in private prisons.  
Source

Race in private prisons: Young Latinos & Blacks “cherry picked” by inferior private prison industrial complex
February 23, 2014

Most overrepresented in US prisons are people of color: African Americans and Latinos constitute 30 percent of the US population, yet they comprise 60 percent of its prisoners. That said, not only are African Americans and Latinos more likely to be arrested and jailed, but a new study by University of California-Berkeley researcher Christopher Petrella disclosed that people of color are likely than whites to serve time in private prisons — which has higher levels of recidivism and violence. These institutions also provide inadequate educational programming and healthcare when compared to public facilities.

The research involved compared the percentage of Latinos and Blacks in private and public prisons in nine states. Each state, at different percentages, had higher rates of people of color residing in private facilities than public facilities.

Inmates released from private prisons experienced recidivism — the tendency to relapse into criminal behavior, at an average rate three percent higher than public prisons. Many factors contribute to this, including the fact that younger inmates in private prisons are sought after for reason of exploitation and low maintenance costs, and not rehabilitation.

The higher rate of recidivism ranged from an excess of three percent in Arizona and Georgia to 13 percent in Oklahoma and California. The researcher indicated that the disparity casts doubt on claims of cost-efficiency made by the private prison industry, also it demonstrates how “ostensibly ‘colorblind’ policies can have a very real effect on people of color.”

The study showed links between inmate’s age and race; private prisons contract a higher rate of inmates of color, and a majority of inmates are under the age of 50. Older inmates tend to be medically expensive, and exemption from housing individuals of a certain age means that costs are kept low and profits are kept high. The war on drugs draws a great deal of young people of color toward private prisons; while older whites, who are more like to arrested, are placed in public prisons . By denying older inmates, private prisons are also denying white inmates because are only 33.2 percent of white prisoners under the age of 50, a vast majority is 50+.

High-level quotas must be maintained even as crime rates drop, and the growth of the prison industry’s prioritization of profit over rehabilitation are dynamics that show that there criminal-like activity conducted by those behind the locks and the key holders. Non-white communities have been disproportionally affected for the last 40 years, and now they are cherry-picked and delivered to inferior private prisons.

Being younger, having superior health and being brown seems to be quintessential traits when selecting inmates for private prisons. These facilities, after all, aim to scout inmates with “a prisoner profile that is far younger and far ‘darker’ … than in select counterpart public facilities.”

"Given the data, it’s difficult for private prisons to make the claim that they can incarcerate individuals more efficiently than their public counterparts," Petrella tells Mother Jones. "We need to be comparing apples to apples. If we’re looking at different prisoner profiles, there is no basis to make the claim that private prisons are more efficient than publics."

ACLU National Prison Project’s David Shapiro agreed with Petrella’s findings, stating, “The study is an example of the many ways in which for-profit prisons create an illusion of fiscal responsibility even though the actual evidence of cost savings, when apples are compared to apples, is doubtful at best. Privatization gimmicks are a distraction from the serious business of addressing our addiction to mass incarceration.”

However, the addiction is not only mass incarceration, but the incarceration and longterm containment of a particular demographic. Blacks and Latinos are snared by private prisons. They are exploited, and they are “leased” to private companies. The private prison industry reaps massive rewards from the government and from private prison executives who feign superiority over the public sector. But, both “deprive individuals of freedom, wrests loved ones from their families, and drains the resources of governments, communities, and taxpayers, the private prison industry reaps lucrative rewards.” Private prisons also normalizes segregation and relapse.

Demanding a high enrollment in academic, vocational and substance abuse programming, and recruiting in an equal amount of white inmates would create a balance in private prisons.  

Source

Jim Crow for kids: Schools prepare children for life behind barsMarch 26, 2013
Gone are the days of children dreading a trip to the principal’s office or spending their lunch time in detention. Instead, children are now facing the possibility of being dragged out of their classrooms in handcuffs for conduct violations, such as a schoolyard brawl or being accused of stealing a student’s lunch money.
Increasingly, children of color and children with learning disabilities are being prepped for a life in the American injustice system as police officers have become as common of a figure at schools as the nurse. After the Newtown massacre in December, police presence in schools across the country jumped leaving the authorities to deal with school children just as they deal with criminals, in an arrangement commonly referred to as the “school-to-prison pipeline.”
Recent cases of criminalization include a 12-year-old junior high student who was handcuffed and arrested for doodling on her desk in New York City; a 13-year-old Florida boy arrested and charged with disrupting a school function after passing gas; and a 6-year-old child handcuffed and arrested for throwing a tantrum in Georgia.
More guns, officers aggravate injustice
In his recent gun control proposal, President Obama slipped in a call to staff schools with police officers, further exacerbating the school-to-prison pipeline that unequally marginalizes black and Latino children. According to a study by the Civil Rights Data Collection—one that covered 85 percent of the nation’s students and 72,000 schools—black students are three and a half times more likely to be arrested than their white peers. The study also showed that 70 percent of students arrested were either black or Latino. Running in sync with the National Rifle Association’s call to put armed guards in every school, Obama’s plan will only intensify the school-to-prison pipeline, endangering children of color across the country.
Students with disabilities are also the victims of these harsh policies. Officers already receive very little training on how to handle suspects with mental disabilities, but even less so when it comes to children. Even though 8.6 percent of children in public schools have been found to have some sort of disability, they make up 32 percent of the youth in detention centers.
In a prison system that author Michelle Alexander has called “The New Jim Crow,” mass incarceration has led to one in six Latino men living behind bars, people of color making up 60 percent of the prisoner population and more black people in prison than there were slaves before the Civil War began. These same principles used to lock up people of color for petty “crimes” have found a way into classrooms, preparing these children for the racist injustice system they are statistically likely to encounter later in life by forcing them into the prison system early.
Not only have more security guards and police officers resulted in more bogus misdemeanor arrests, but they drain the already scarce funding for schools. School districts have spent upwards of $51 million on school security, while other much more vital aspects of education go underfunded, especially in poor urban neighborhoods of color.
A child is not a criminal
School-to-prison pipelines have been under fire recently with the expansion of the police state into elementary and middle schools, especially in places notorious for racial discrimination. In October, Meridian, Mississippi was sued for operating a pipeline where students were denied basic constitutional rights once they were arrested and taken to juvenile court. About 86 percent of the students in the Lauderdale Country School District are black, and every single one of the students referred to the court for violations were students of color. Not only were these students arrested, but they were denied legal representation, detained without probable cause, and weren’t advised of their Miranda rights.
Texas isn’t far behind when it comes to criminalizing students for minor infractions, such as disrupting class. According to The Guardian, the state tallied more than 300,000 Class C misdemeanor arrests in 2010 because of zero-tolerance policies and increased police forces on school grounds.
But this extension of the New Jim Crow has been found to have been the worst and the largest in Florida. According to the Orlando Sentinel, 12,000 students were arrested 13,870 times in public schools last year. Black students made up 46 percent of the referrals, even though they make up only 21 percent of the Florida youth.
According to the Center for Behavioral Health Services and Criminal Justice Research, these arrests make for long-lasting psychological damage to the student. Incarcerated youth are more likely to exhibit symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and anxiety issues. Detained students are also more likely to lose ground academically from juvenile detention. According to a study done on inner-city Chicago high school students, those arrested in the first two years of high school were six to eight times more likely to drop out than those who hadn’t been arrested.
Instead of focusing on education, school-to-prison pipeline policies are preparing America’s youth for a life in the injustice system. Scare tactics, zero tolerance policies, and police forces are quickly threatening the future of millions of young students. But this criminalization won’t end for them when they graduate high school because, as Alexander states, “mass incarceration in the United States has, in fact, emerged as a stunningly comprehensive and well-disguised system of racialized social control that functions in a manner strikingly similar to Jim Crow.”
- GracielaThe Boston OccupierLarger graphic here

Jim Crow for kids: Schools prepare children for life behind bars
March 26, 2013

Gone are the days of children dreading a trip to the principal’s office or spending their lunch time in detention. Instead, children are now facing the possibility of being dragged out of their classrooms in handcuffs for conduct violations, such as a schoolyard brawl or being accused of stealing a student’s lunch money.

Increasingly, children of color and children with learning disabilities are being prepped for a life in the American injustice system as police officers have become as common of a figure at schools as the nurse. After the Newtown massacre in December, police presence in schools across the country jumped leaving the authorities to deal with school children just as they deal with criminals, in an arrangement commonly referred to as the “school-to-prison pipeline.”

Recent cases of criminalization include a 12-year-old junior high student who was handcuffed and arrested for doodling on her desk in New York City; a 13-year-old Florida boy arrested and charged with disrupting a school function after passing gas; and a 6-year-old child handcuffed and arrested for throwing a tantrum in Georgia.

More guns, officers aggravate injustice

In his recent gun control proposal, President Obama slipped in a call to staff schools with police officers, further exacerbating the school-to-prison pipeline that unequally marginalizes black and Latino children. According to a study by the Civil Rights Data Collection—one that covered 85 percent of the nation’s students and 72,000 schools—black students are three and a half times more likely to be arrested than their white peers. The study also showed that 70 percent of students arrested were either black or Latino. Running in sync with the National Rifle Association’s call to put armed guards in every school, Obama’s plan will only intensify the school-to-prison pipeline, endangering children of color across the country.

Students with disabilities are also the victims of these harsh policies. Officers already receive very little training on how to handle suspects with mental disabilities, but even less so when it comes to children. Even though 8.6 percent of children in public schools have been found to have some sort of disability, they make up 32 percent of the youth in detention centers.

In a prison system that author Michelle Alexander has called “The New Jim Crow,” mass incarceration has led to one in six Latino men living behind bars, people of color making up 60 percent of the prisoner population and more black people in prison than there were slaves before the Civil War began. These same principles used to lock up people of color for petty “crimes” have found a way into classrooms, preparing these children for the racist injustice system they are statistically likely to encounter later in life by forcing them into the prison system early.

Not only have more security guards and police officers resulted in more bogus misdemeanor arrests, but they drain the already scarce funding for schools. School districts have spent upwards of $51 million on school security, while other much more vital aspects of education go underfunded, especially in poor urban neighborhoods of color.

A child is not a criminal

School-to-prison pipelines have been under fire recently with the expansion of the police state into elementary and middle schools, especially in places notorious for racial discrimination. In October, Meridian, Mississippi was sued for operating a pipeline where students were denied basic constitutional rights once they were arrested and taken to juvenile court. About 86 percent of the students in the Lauderdale Country School District are black, and every single one of the students referred to the court for violations were students of color. Not only were these students arrested, but they were denied legal representation, detained without probable cause, and weren’t advised of their Miranda rights.

Texas isn’t far behind when it comes to criminalizing students for minor infractions, such as disrupting class. According to The Guardian, the state tallied more than 300,000 Class C misdemeanor arrests in 2010 because of zero-tolerance policies and increased police forces on school grounds.

But this extension of the New Jim Crow has been found to have been the worst and the largest in Florida. According to the Orlando Sentinel, 12,000 students were arrested 13,870 times in public schools last year. Black students made up 46 percent of the referrals, even though they make up only 21 percent of the Florida youth.

According to the Center for Behavioral Health Services and Criminal Justice Research, these arrests make for long-lasting psychological damage to the student. Incarcerated youth are more likely to exhibit symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and anxiety issues. Detained students are also more likely to lose ground academically from juvenile detention. According to a study done on inner-city Chicago high school students, those arrested in the first two years of high school were six to eight times more likely to drop out than those who hadn’t been arrested.

Instead of focusing on education, school-to-prison pipeline policies are preparing America’s youth for a life in the injustice system. Scare tactics, zero tolerance policies, and police forces are quickly threatening the future of millions of young students. But this criminalization won’t end for them when they graduate high school because, as Alexander states, “mass incarceration in the United States has, in fact, emerged as a stunningly comprehensive and well-disguised system of racialized social control that functions in a manner strikingly similar to Jim Crow.”

- Graciela
The Boston Occupier
Larger graphic here

Five ways privatization is poisoning AmericaMarch 11, 2013
1. The Taking of Public Land
Attempts to privatize federal land were made by the Reagan administration in the 1980s and the Republican-controlled Congress in the 1990s. In 2006, President Bush proposed auctioning off 300,000 acres of national forest in 41 states.
The assault on our common areas continues with even greater ferocity today, as the euphemistic Path to Prosperity has proposed to sell millions of acres of “unneeded federal land,” and libertarian groups like the Cato Institute demand that our property be “allocated to the highest-value use.” Mitt Romney admitted that he didn’t know “what the purpose is” of public lands.
Examples of the takeaway are shocking. Peabody Coal is strip-mining public lands in Wyoming and Montana and making a 10,000% profit on the meager amounts they pay for the privilege. Sealaska is snatching up timberland in Alaska. The Central Rockies Land Exchange would allow Bill Koch to pick up choice Colorado properties from the Bureau of Land Management, while neighboring Utah Governor Gary Herbert sees land privatization as a way to reduce the deficit. Representative Cliff Stearns recommended that we "sell off some of our national parks." One gold mining company even invoked an 1872 law to grab mineral-rich Nevada land for which it stands to make a million-percent profit.
The National Resources Defense Council just reported that oil and gas companies hold drilling and fracking rights on U.S. land equivalent to the size of California and Florida combined. Much of this land is "split estate," which means the company can drill under an American citizen’s property without consent. Unrestrained by government regulations, TransCanada was able to use eminent domain in Texas to lay its pipeline on private property and then have the owner arrested for trespassing on her own land, and Chesapeake Energy Corporation overturned a 93-year-old law to frack a Texas residence without paying a penny to the homeowners. Most recently, the oil frenzy in North Dakota has cheated Native Americans out of a billion dollars worth of revenue from drilling leases.
Away from the mountains and the plains, back in the cities of Chicago and Indianapolis and L.A. and San Diego, our streets and parking spaces have been surrendered to corporations until the time of our great-grandchildren, with some of the highest profit margins in the corporate world.
2. Water for Sale
The corporate invasion of the water market is well underway. In May 2000 Fortune Magazine called water “one of the world’s great business opportunities..[It] promises to be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th.” Citigroup is on board, viewing water as a prime investment, and perhaps the “single most important physical-commodity based asset class.”
The vital human resource of water is being privatized and marketed all over the country. In Pennsylvania and California, the American Water Company took over towns and raised rates by 70% or more. In Atlanta, United Water Services demanded more money from the city while prompting federal complaints about water quality. Shell owns groundwater rights in Colorado, oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens is buying up the water in drought-stricken Texas, and water in Alaska is being pumped into tankers and sold in the Middle East.
A 2009 analysis of water and sewer utilities by Food and Water Watch found that private companies charge up to 80 percent more for water and 100 percent more for sewer services. Various privatization abusesor failures occurred in California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
Of course, water monopolization is a global concern, and a life-threatening issue in undeveloped countries, where 884 million people are without safe drinking water and more than 2.6 billion people lack the means for basic sanitation. Whether in the U.S. or in the world’s poorest nation, the folly of privatizing water is made clear by the profit-seeking motives of business:
(1) Water corporations are primarily accountable to their stockholders, not to the people they serve. (2) They will avoid serving low-income communities where bill collection might be an issue. (3) Because of the risk to profits, there is less incentive to maintain infrastructure.
3. Owning Human Life
Monsanto and their agro-chemical partners call themselves the “life industry.”
In 1980 a General Electric geneticist engineered an oil-eating bacterium, effective against oil spills, and in the first case of its kind the Supreme Court ruled that “a live, human-made micro-organism is patentable subject matter.” Fifteen years later a World Trade Organization decision allowed plants, genes, and microorganisms to be owned as intellectual property.
The results, not surprisingly, have been disastrous. One-fifth of the human genome is privately owned through patents. Strains of influenza and hepatitis have been claimed by corporate and university labs, and because of this researchers can’t use the patented life forms to perform cancer research. Thus the cost of life-preserving tests often depends on the whim (and the market analysis) of the organization claiming ownership of the biological entity.
The results have also been otherworldly. In 1996 the U.S. National Institutes of Health attempted to patent the blood cells of the primitive Hagahai tribesman of New Guinea. U.S. companies AgriDyne and W.R. Grace tried to gain ownership of the neem plant, used for centuries in India for the making of medicines and natural pesticides. Other examples of 'biopiracy': The University of Cincinnati holds a patent on Brazil’s guarana seed; the University of Mississippi holds a patent on the Asian spice turmeric.
Most tragically, tens of thousands of Indian farmers, charged for seeds that they used to develop on their own, and forced to repurchase them every year, have been driven to suicide after experiencing crop failures and ruinous debt.
Monsanto is at the forefront of GMO seeds and litigation against vulnerable farmers. To date the company has won over half of its patent infringement lawsuits. The Supreme Court is currently weighing the arguments in Bowman vs. Monsanto, which asks if a company can have a claim on a farmer whose crops were derived from a seed already paid for. More significantly, the question is whether a company can claim the rights to a form of life that has been nurtured by communities of farmers for centuries.
4. Owning the Air
In polluted Beijing, wealthy entrepreneur Chen Guangbiao is selling “fresh air” in a soft drink can for about 80 cents.
While Americans are not yet dependent on (real or imagined) breathing supplements, we have relinquished public access to the air in another important way: the 1996 Telecommunications Act led the way to a giveaway of the transmission airwaves to the broadcast media. Through an effective lobbying campaign the communications industry gained all the benefits of a lucrative public space without even a licensing fee. Objected former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, “The airwaves are a natural resource. They do not belong to the broadcasters, phone companies or any other industry. They belong to the American people.”
Closely related is our right to freedom of expression on the Internet, which has been repeatedly threatened, despite the presence of existing copyright laws, by aggressive proposals like the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). Privacy is at risk with the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), passed in the House despite objections by Ron Paul and others who recognize the “Big Brother” implications of government monitoring of Google and Facebook accounts. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has facilitated the monitoring of foreign communications in the name of anti-terrorism.
A 2011 UNESCO report offered this worrisome insight: “..the control of information on the Internet and Web is certainly feasible, and technological advances do not therefore guarantee greater freedom of speech.”
5. Children as Products
Leading capitalists like Bill Gates and Jeb Bush and Michael Bloomberg and Arne Duncan and Michelle Rhee, who together have a few months teaching experience, have decided that the business model can pump out improved assembly line versions of our children.
Charter schools simply don’t work as well as the profitseekers would have us believe. The recently updated CREDO study at Stanford concluded again that “CMOs (Charter Management Organizations) on average are not dramatically better than non-CMO schools in terms of their contributions to student learning.” Approximately the same percentages of charters and non-charters are showing improvement (or lack of improvement) in reading and math. In addition, poorly performing charters tend not to improve over time.
Nevertheless, charters remain appealing to poorly informed parents. The schools like to represent themselves as equal opportunity educational options, but the facts state the opposite, as many of them have strict application standards that ensure access to the most qualified students. Funding for such schools drains money out of the public system.
Children are viewed as products in another way — on the school-to-prison pipeline. Many school districts employ “school resource officers” to patrol their hallways, and to ticket or arrest kids who disrupt the academic routine, no matter the age of the offender or the nature of the “offense”:
— A twelve-year-old was arrested for wearing too much perfume. — A five-year-old was handcuffed for committing “battery” on a police officer. — A six-year-old was called a "terrorist threat" for talking about shooting bubbles at a classmate.
Along with these bizarre instances is the frightening precedent set by a private prison, Corrections Corporation of America, which despite having no law enforcement authority was allowed to participate in a drug sweep at a high school in Arizona.
SourcePhoto
I’d add the private prison industry to this list: Between 1990 and 2009, the inmate population of private prisons grew by 1,664% (source). Today approximately 130,000 people are incarcerated by for-profit companies. In 2010, annual revenues for two largest companies — Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group — were nearly $3 billion.
It disproportionately locks up blacks & Latinos as well as the poor, as does the entire prison industrial complex. Private prisons also profit from harsh immigration laws & has now entered the school-to-prison pipeline, which arrests/detains more than 70 percent black & Latino students.

Five ways privatization is poisoning America
March 11, 2013

1. The Taking of Public Land

Attempts to privatize federal land were made by the Reagan administration in the 1980s and the Republican-controlled Congress in the 1990s. In 2006, President Bush proposed auctioning off 300,000 acres of national forest in 41 states.

The assault on our common areas continues with even greater ferocity today, as the euphemistic Path to Prosperity has proposed to sell millions of acres of “unneeded federal land,” and libertarian groups like the Cato Institute demand that our property be “allocated to the highest-value use.” Mitt Romney admitted that he didn’t know “what the purpose is” of public lands.

Examples of the takeaway are shocking. Peabody Coal is strip-mining public lands in Wyoming and Montana and making a 10,000% profit on the meager amounts they pay for the privilege. Sealaska is snatching up timberland in Alaska. The Central Rockies Land Exchange would allow Bill Koch to pick up choice Colorado properties from the Bureau of Land Management, while neighboring Utah Governor Gary Herbert sees land privatization as a way to reduce the deficit. Representative Cliff Stearns recommended that we "sell off some of our national parks." One gold mining company even invoked an 1872 law to grab mineral-rich Nevada land for which it stands to make a million-percent profit.

The National Resources Defense Council just reported that oil and gas companies hold drilling and fracking rights on U.S. land equivalent to the size of California and Florida combined. Much of this land is "split estate," which means the company can drill under an American citizen’s property without consent. Unrestrained by government regulations, TransCanada was able to use eminent domain in Texas to lay its pipeline on private property and then have the owner arrested for trespassing on her own land, and Chesapeake Energy Corporation overturned a 93-year-old law to frack a Texas residence without paying a penny to the homeowners. Most recently, the oil frenzy in North Dakota has cheated Native Americans out of a billion dollars worth of revenue from drilling leases.

Away from the mountains and the plains, back in the cities of Chicago and Indianapolis and L.A. and San Diego, our streets and parking spaces have been surrendered to corporations until the time of our great-grandchildren, with some of the highest profit margins in the corporate world.

2. Water for Sale

The corporate invasion of the water market is well underway. In May 2000 Fortune Magazine called water “one of the world’s great business opportunities..[It] promises to be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th.” Citigroup is on board, viewing water as a prime investment, and perhaps the “single most important physical-commodity based asset class.”

The vital human resource of water is being privatized and marketed all over the country. In Pennsylvania and California, the American Water Company took over towns and raised rates by 70% or more. In Atlanta, United Water Services demanded more money from the city while prompting federal complaints about water quality. Shell owns groundwater rights in Colorado, oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens is buying up the water in drought-stricken Texas, and water in Alaska is being pumped into tankers and sold in the Middle East.

A 2009 analysis of water and sewer utilities by Food and Water Watch found that private companies charge up to 80 percent more for water and 100 percent more for sewer services. Various privatization abusesor failures occurred in California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.

Of course, water monopolization is a global concern, and a life-threatening issue in undeveloped countries, where 884 million people are without safe drinking water and more than 2.6 billion people lack the means for basic sanitation. Whether in the U.S. or in the world’s poorest nation, the folly of privatizing water is made clear by the profit-seeking motives of business:

(1) Water corporations are primarily accountable to their stockholders, not to the people they serve.
(2) They will avoid serving low-income communities where bill collection might be an issue.
(3) Because of the risk to profits, there is less incentive to maintain infrastructure.

3. Owning Human Life

Monsanto and their agro-chemical partners call themselves the “life industry.”

In 1980 a General Electric geneticist engineered an oil-eating bacterium, effective against oil spills, and in the first case of its kind the Supreme Court ruled that “a live, human-made micro-organism is patentable subject matter.” Fifteen years later a World Trade Organization decision allowed plants, genes, and microorganisms to be owned as intellectual property.

The results, not surprisingly, have been disastrous. One-fifth of the human genome is privately owned through patents. Strains of influenza and hepatitis have been claimed by corporate and university labs, and because of this researchers can’t use the patented life forms to perform cancer research. Thus the cost of life-preserving tests often depends on the whim (and the market analysis) of the organization claiming ownership of the biological entity.

The results have also been otherworldly. In 1996 the U.S. National Institutes of Health attempted to patent the blood cells of the primitive Hagahai tribesman of New Guinea. U.S. companies AgriDyne and W.R. Grace tried to gain ownership of the neem plant, used for centuries in India for the making of medicines and natural pesticides. Other examples of 'biopiracy': The University of Cincinnati holds a patent on Brazil’s guarana seed; the University of Mississippi holds a patent on the Asian spice turmeric.

Most tragically, tens of thousands of Indian farmers, charged for seeds that they used to develop on their own, and forced to repurchase them every year, have been driven to suicide after experiencing crop failures and ruinous debt.

Monsanto is at the forefront of GMO seeds and litigation against vulnerable farmers. To date the company has won over half of its patent infringement lawsuits. The Supreme Court is currently weighing the arguments in Bowman vs. Monsanto, which asks if a company can have a claim on a farmer whose crops were derived from a seed already paid for. More significantly, the question is whether a company can claim the rights to a form of life that has been nurtured by communities of farmers for centuries.

4. Owning the Air

In polluted Beijing, wealthy entrepreneur Chen Guangbiao is selling “fresh air” in a soft drink can for about 80 cents.

While Americans are not yet dependent on (real or imagined) breathing supplements, we have relinquished public access to the air in another important way: the 1996 Telecommunications Act led the way to a giveaway of the transmission airwaves to the broadcast media. Through an effective lobbying campaign the communications industry gained all the benefits of a lucrative public space without even a licensing fee. Objected former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, “The airwaves are a natural resource. They do not belong to the broadcasters, phone companies or any other industry. They belong to the American people.”

Closely related is our right to freedom of expression on the Internet, which has been repeatedly threatened, despite the presence of existing copyright laws, by aggressive proposals like the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). Privacy is at risk with the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), passed in the House despite objections by Ron Paul and others who recognize the “Big Brother” implications of government monitoring of Google and Facebook accounts. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has facilitated the monitoring of foreign communications in the name of anti-terrorism.

A 2011 UNESCO report offered this worrisome insight: “..the control of information on the Internet and Web is certainly feasible, and technological advances do not therefore guarantee greater freedom of speech.”

5. Children as Products

Leading capitalists like Bill Gates and Jeb Bush and Michael Bloomberg and Arne Duncan and Michelle Rhee, who together have a few months teaching experience, have decided that the business model can pump out improved assembly line versions of our children.

Charter schools simply don’t work as well as the profitseekers would have us believe. The recently updated CREDO study at Stanford concluded again that “CMOs (Charter Management Organizations) on average are not dramatically better than non-CMO schools in terms of their contributions to student learning.” Approximately the same percentages of charters and non-charters are showing improvement (or lack of improvement) in reading and math. In addition, poorly performing charters tend not to improve over time.

Nevertheless, charters remain appealing to poorly informed parents. The schools like to represent themselves as equal opportunity educational options, but the facts state the opposite, as many of them have strict application standards that ensure access to the most qualified students. Funding for such schools drains money out of the public system.

Children are viewed as products in another way — on the school-to-prison pipeline. Many school districts employ “school resource officers” to patrol their hallways, and to ticket or arrest kids who disrupt the academic routine, no matter the age of the offender or the nature of the “offense”:

— A twelve-year-old was arrested for wearing too much perfume.
— A five-year-old was handcuffed for committing “battery” on a police officer.
— A six-year-old was called a "terrorist threat" for talking about shooting bubbles at a classmate.

Along with these bizarre instances is the frightening precedent set by a private prison, Corrections Corporation of America, which despite having no law enforcement authority was allowed to participate in a drug sweep at a high school in Arizona.

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I’d add the private prison industry to this list: Between 1990 and 2009, the inmate population of private prisons grew by 1,664% (source). Today approximately 130,000 people are incarcerated by for-profit companies. In 2010, annual revenues for two largest companies — Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group — were nearly $3 billion.

It disproportionately locks up blacks & Latinos as well as the poor, as does the entire prison industrial complex. Private prisons also profit from harsh immigration laws & has now entered the school-to-prison pipeline, which arrests/detains more than 70 percent black & Latino students.

Shocking details of a Mississippi School-to-Prison pipelineNovember 28, 2012
Cedrico Green can’t exactly remember how many times he went back and forth to juvenile. When asked to venture a guess he says, “Maybe 30.” He was put on probation by a youth court judge for getting into a fight when he was in eighth grade. Thereafter, any of Green’s school-based infractions, from being a few minutes late for class to breaking the school dress code by wearing the wrong color socks, counted as violations of his probation and led to his immediate suspension and incarceration in the local juvenile detention center.
But Green wasn’t alone. A bracing Department of Justice lawsuit filed last month against Meridian, Miss., where Green lives and is set to graduate from high school this coming year, argues that the city’s juvenile justice system has operated a school to prison pipeline that shoves students out of school and into the criminal justice system, and violates young people’s due process rights along the way.
In Meridian, when schools want to discipline children, they do much more than just send them to the principal’s office. They call the police, who show up to arrest children who are as young as 10 years old. Arrests, the Department of Justice says, happen automatically, regardless of whether the police officer knows exactly what kind of offense the child has committed or whether that offense is even worthy of an arrest. The police department’s policy is to arrest all children referred to the agency.
Once those children are in the juvenile justice system, they are denied basic constitutional rights. They are handcuffed and incarcerated for days without any hearing and subsequently warehoused without understanding their alleged probation violations.
“[D]efendants engage in a pattern or practice of unlawful conduct through which they routinely and systematically arrest and incarcerate children, including for minor school rule infractions, without even the most basic procedural safeguards, and in violation of these children’s constitutional rights,” the DOJ’s 37-page complaint reads. Meridian’s years of systemic abuse punish youth “so arbitrarily and severely as to shock the conscience,” the complaint reads.
Full articlePhoto
This is incredibly disturbing. Mississippi has five private prisons that will directly profit from this School-to-Prison pipeline. One of the prisons, Delta County Correctional Facility, is already at capacity at 1,000 prisoners. Definitely read the full story. 

Shocking details of a Mississippi School-to-Prison pipeline
November 28, 2012

Cedrico Green can’t exactly remember how many times he went back and forth to juvenile. When asked to venture a guess he says, “Maybe 30.” He was put on probation by a youth court judge for getting into a fight when he was in eighth grade. Thereafter, any of Green’s school-based infractions, from being a few minutes late for class to breaking the school dress code by wearing the wrong color socks, counted as violations of his probation and led to his immediate suspension and incarceration in the local juvenile detention center.

But Green wasn’t alone. A bracing Department of Justice lawsuit filed last month against Meridian, Miss., where Green lives and is set to graduate from high school this coming year, argues that the city’s juvenile justice system has operated a school to prison pipeline that shoves students out of school and into the criminal justice system, and violates young people’s due process rights along the way.

In Meridian, when schools want to discipline children, they do much more than just send them to the principal’s office. They call the police, who show up to arrest children who are as young as 10 years old. Arrests, the Department of Justice says, happen automatically, regardless of whether the police officer knows exactly what kind of offense the child has committed or whether that offense is even worthy of an arrest. The police department’s policy is to arrest all children referred to the agency.

Once those children are in the juvenile justice system, they are denied basic constitutional rights. They are handcuffed and incarcerated for days without any hearing and subsequently warehoused without understanding their alleged probation violations.

“[D]efendants engage in a pattern or practice of unlawful conduct through which they routinely and systematically arrest and incarcerate children, including for minor school rule infractions, without even the most basic procedural safeguards, and in violation of these children’s constitutional rights,” the DOJ’s 37-page complaint reads. Meridian’s years of systemic abuse punish youth “so arbitrarily and severely as to shock the conscience,” the complaint reads.

Full article
Photo

This is incredibly disturbing. Mississippi has five private prisons that will directly profit from this School-to-Prison pipeline. One of the prisons, Delta County Correctional Facility, is already at capacity at 1,000 prisoners. Definitely read the full story. 

Study: Black male incarceration jumped 500% from 1986 to 2004November 12, 2012
A report has been released at Meharry Medical College School of Medicine about the devastating impact that mass incarceration has on our society.  The study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, is one of the most thorough examinations of the impact that mass incarceration has on the African American community.  The study’s authors argue that the billions of dollars being spent keeping non-violent offenders behind bars would be better spent on education and rehabilitation.
“Instead of getting health care and education from civil society, African American males are being funneled into the prison system. Much of this costly practice could be avoided in the long-term by transferring funds away from prisons and into education,” says Dr. William D Richie, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Meharry Medical College, lead author of the paper.
The study’s authors note that 60% of all incarcerations are due to non-violent, drug-related crimes. The authors also note that the cost of substance abuse in the United States is as high as half a trillion dollars per year.
“Spending money on prevention and intervention of substance abuse treatment programs will yield better results than spending on correctional facilities,” the authors claim in the study.
Finally, the authors note that while crime rates have declined over the last 20 years, incarceration rates has climbed through the roof. The inmates occupying these jail cells are disproportionately black.  In fact, the black male incarceration rate has jumped by 500% between 1986 the 2004.  The authors note that, even for those who don’t abuse drugs before going to prison, the likelihood of substance abuse after prison goes up dramatically.
You can read more of the study at this link
The mass incarceration epidemic affects all of us, even those who haven’t gone to prison: It affects the child who grows up without  a father who has been incarcerated, the children who are bullied at school by that child, the woman seeking a husband who can’t find a good man to marry, the list goes on and on.  When so many of our men are marginalized and incarcerated, this has a powerful impact on the sociological ecosystem of the black community, the same way an economy crumbles when a few large companies go bankrupt.
The point here is that we cannot look at the holocaust of mass incarceration as someone else’s problem or something that just affects criminals.  The punishment should fit the crime, and when every study imaginable says that black people are more likely to go to jail for the same crimes, this means that Jim Crow is alive and well.  Something must be done at the grassroots, state and federal levels.  We cannot allow this epidemic to exist any longer.
Source

Study: Black male incarceration jumped 500% from 1986 to 2004
November 12, 2012

A report has been released at Meharry Medical College School of Medicine about the devastating impact that mass incarceration has on our society.  The study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, is one of the most thorough examinations of the impact that mass incarceration has on the African American community.  The study’s authors argue that the billions of dollars being spent keeping non-violent offenders behind bars would be better spent on education and rehabilitation.

“Instead of getting health care and education from civil society, African American males are being funneled into the prison system. Much of this costly practice could be avoided in the long-term by transferring funds away from prisons and into education,” says Dr. William D Richie, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Meharry Medical College, lead author of the paper.

The study’s authors note that 60% of all incarcerations are due to non-violent, drug-related crimes. The authors also note that the cost of substance abuse in the United States is as high as half a trillion dollars per year.

“Spending money on prevention and intervention of substance abuse treatment programs will yield better results than spending on correctional facilities,” the authors claim in the study.

Finally, the authors note that while crime rates have declined over the last 20 years, incarceration rates has climbed through the roof. The inmates occupying these jail cells are disproportionately black.  In fact, the black male incarceration rate has jumped by 500% between 1986 the 2004.  The authors note that, even for those who don’t abuse drugs before going to prison, the likelihood of substance abuse after prison goes up dramatically.

You can read more of the study at this link

The mass incarceration epidemic affects all of us, even those who haven’t gone to prison: It affects the child who grows up without  a father who has been incarcerated, the children who are bullied at school by that child, the woman seeking a husband who can’t find a good man to marry, the list goes on and on.  When so many of our men are marginalized and incarcerated, this has a powerful impact on the sociological ecosystem of the black community, the same way an economy crumbles when a few large companies go bankrupt.

The point here is that we cannot look at the holocaust of mass incarceration as someone else’s problem or something that just affects criminals.  The punishment should fit the crime, and when every study imaginable says that black people are more likely to go to jail for the same crimes, this means that Jim Crow is alive and well.  Something must be done at the grassroots, state and federal levels.  We cannot allow this epidemic to exist any longer.

Source

Private prisons spend $45 million on lobbying, rake in $5.1 billion for immigrant detention aloneAugust 3, 2012
Nearly half of all immigrants detained by federal officials are held in facilities run by private prison companies, at an average cost for each detained immigrant is $166 a night. That’s added up to massive profits for Corrections Corporation of America, The GEO Group and other private prison companies:

A decade ago, more than 3,300 criminal immigrants were sent to private prisons under two 10-year contracts the Federal Bureau of Prisons signed with CCA worth $760 million. Now, the agency is paying the private companies $5.1 billion to hold more than 23,000 criminal immigrants through 13 contracts of varying lengths.
CCA was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2000 due to lawsuits, management problems and dwindling contracts. Last year, the company reaped $162 million in net income. Federal contracts made up 43 percent of its total revenues, in part thanks to rising immigrant detention. GEO, which cites the immigration agency as its largest client, saw its net income jump from $16.9 million to $78.6 million since 2000.

As the AP explains, these remarkable profits come in the wake of an equally remarkable lobbying campaign. In the past decade, three major private prison companies spent $45 million on campaign donations and lobbyists to push legislation at the state and federal level. At times, this money has gone to truly nefarious legislation. A 2011 report found that the private prison industry spent millions seeking to increase sentences and incarcerate more people in order to increase the industry’s profits. 30 of the 36 legislators who co-sponsored Arizona’s now mostly invalidated immigration law — which would have landed many more people in detention — received campaign contributions from private prison lobbyists or companies, including CCA and GEO. According to a report released last year, CCA spent over $900,000 on federal lobbying and GEO spent between $120,000 to $199,992 in Florida alone during a short three-month span in 2011. $450,000 went to the Republican national and congressional committees, while Democrats received less than half that number. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) were also among the private prison lobby’s top benefactors.
Private prisons have also been found guilty of abuses ranging from understaffing facilities tobribing judges to sentencing juveniles with minor offenses to disproportionately long terms in privately-owned correctional facilities. A recent report found a Georgia prison run by CCA charges detainees $5 a minute for phone calls while paying them just a dollar a day for menial labor that keeps the facility running; immigrants in civil detention centers have been exploited by the same program.
Source

Private prisons spend $45 million on lobbying, rake in $5.1 billion for immigrant detention alone
August 3, 2012

Nearly half of all immigrants detained by federal officials are held in facilities run by private prison companies, at an average cost for each detained immigrant is $166 a night. That’s added up to massive profits for Corrections Corporation of America, The GEO Group and other private prison companies:

A decade ago, more than 3,300 criminal immigrants were sent to private prisons under two 10-year contracts the Federal Bureau of Prisons signed with CCA worth $760 million. Now, the agency is paying the private companies $5.1 billion to hold more than 23,000 criminal immigrants through 13 contracts of varying lengths.

CCA was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2000 due to lawsuits, management problems and dwindling contracts. Last year, the company reaped $162 million in net income. Federal contracts made up 43 percent of its total revenues, in part thanks to rising immigrant detention. GEO, which cites the immigration agency as its largest client, saw its net income jump from $16.9 million to $78.6 million since 2000.

As the AP explains, these remarkable profits come in the wake of an equally remarkable lobbying campaign. In the past decade, three major private prison companies spent $45 million on campaign donations and lobbyists to push legislation at the state and federal level. At times, this money has gone to truly nefarious legislation. A 2011 report found that the private prison industry spent millions seeking to increase sentences and incarcerate more people in order to increase the industry’s profits. 30 of the 36 legislators who co-sponsored Arizona’s now mostly invalidated immigration law — which would have landed many more people in detention — received campaign contributions from private prison lobbyists or companies, including CCA and GEO. According to a report released last year, CCA spent over $900,000 on federal lobbying and GEO spent between $120,000 to $199,992 in Florida alone during a short three-month span in 2011. $450,000 went to the Republican national and congressional committees, while Democrats received less than half that number. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) were also among the private prison lobby’s top benefactors.

Private prisons have also been found guilty of abuses ranging from understaffing facilities tobribing judges to sentencing juveniles with minor offenses to disproportionately long terms in privately-owned correctional facilities. A recent report found a Georgia prison run by CCA charges detainees $5 a minute for phone calls while paying them just a dollar a day for menial labor that keeps the facility running; immigrants in civil detention centers have been exploited by the same program.

Source

The nation’s largest private prison company, the Corrections Corporation of America, is on a buying spree. With a war chest of $250 million, the corporation, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, earlier this year sent letters to 48 states, offering to buy their prisons outright. To ensure their profitability, the corporation insists that it be guaranteed that the prisons be kept at least 90 percent full. Plus, the corporate jailers demand a 20-year management contract, on top of the profits they expect to extract by spending less money per prisoner. - Private Prison Corporations are Modern-day Slave Traders

The nation’s largest private prison company, the Corrections Corporation of America, is on a buying spree. With a war chest of $250 million, the corporation, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, earlier this year sent letters to 48 states, offering to buy their prisons outright. To ensure their profitability, the corporation insists that it be guaranteed that the prisons be kept at least 90 percent full. Plus, the corporate jailers demand a 20-year management contract, on top of the profits they expect to extract by spending less money per prisoner. - Private Prison Corporations are Modern-day Slave Traders