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Daniel Sheehan

TEDCRED 20+

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Can a free society survive under commercialized imprisonment?

I'm disturbed with the idea that prisons are being sold to corporate entities. When the state no longer administers the imprisonment of the convicted does this de-legitimize the purpose of justice under the state's laws? If we, as the custodians of our government, sell our convicted brothers and sisters to a corporate prison aren't we selling them into a form of slavery to that corporation? We have an obligation to the people that we take into our custody that they are not exploited for commercial profit and serve their sentence at our hand. The purpose of corporations is solely to make profit, and the only way for a corporation to continue making profit is to increase it's customer base, which in this case is to create more opportunity to receive more inmates. This means that if we are sponsoring these corporations we must create more laws that incarcerate more people. This is antithetical to what we call a free society because we would have to feed our friends and families (and of course enemies) to this corporation. We would be creating an imprisonment society to satisfy corporate profit.

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  • Mar 23 2012: So, having read this, my response is no.. I don't know much about this issue (actually I didn't really know this was going on), but I can't believe that we would do this esp. ith how sly and money hungry these politicans and corporate leaders are.

    However, if the choice is either to let the inmates go because we cannot afford to keep them incarcerated, or allow these corporations to handle the expenses then I supposes its to the lesser of two evils.. (then again I htink we may be a bit too harsh with the punishments and alot of these ppl don't need to be in the prison system).

    It's not as bad as Putting them in the hands of a private individual / corporation.... could be worst :/
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      Mar 23 2012: Thank you Camille.
      My objective is to bring this issue to the attention of this community and to those that didn't know this was going on.
      This is about making people commodities to be sold for profit. These for profit prisons are going out of their way to entice politicians to invest in their companies just because they can affect the laws that will incarcerate people and because they can vote to sell our public prisons to their corporations. This is an abhorrent conflict of interest and any politician, judge, or public policy maker should be exposed and driven out of office.

      The choice isn't about releasing inmates that we can't afford to keep incarcerated, it is about rolling back the laws that created the over crowding of the prisons because they were created to feed these private prisons and to line their investors pockets with money. We are not getting better or cheaper services from these companies, the proof is that they are making profit. Not the lesser of the two but an increase of the evil.

      These private prisons pick and choose which inmates they house. They get paid on a scale based on the overall cost of housing all inmates in the system. They choose the least costly inmates and pocket the rest as profit, and therefore increase the cost of housing the inmates that remain in the public prisons. In both cases we pay a higher cost for housing and care for these inmates.
      This can not be sustainable.
      • Mar 24 2012: There shouldn't be any profits in this.. These corperations shouldn't be able to make money on this since we are paying taxes to keep the convicted in these prisons, and we pay for their medical, hoursing etc.; the last thing we need to be doing is paying more to give them a profit from this....
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          Mar 25 2012: Well, the question here is: Who is making money off of "crime"?

          The age old adage, "Crime doesn't pay." no longer applies. Private prisons make profit from the "crimes" of others. Convicted criminals aren't allowed to make profit from their crimes in any manner. Why do we allow anyone, other than the offended, to make money (be recompensed for) from the crime.

          We now have laws that allow law enforcement agencies to seize assets of suspected criminals (that is people or companies accused, not convicted, of crimes), but this is taking our money that we pay in taxes as private profits.

          Something is going wrong here. What are we doing to ourselves?

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