I can’t lie, I did a double take when I read this story. Then I did a bunch of research to make sure it was true. Then I shook my head. I hate that I didn’t know this as I’m sure you will as well.
For those of us who aren’t (or weren’t) in the know, privately run prisons have become an “industry”. Government agencies sign contracts which guarantee a minimum occupancy or quota of prisoners; contracts are normally ten year contracts that are renewable for another ten years and they require 70-100 (typically) percent occupancy. This means if they only have 64 percent of their beds filled, the state has to pay them for the 70-100 percent that the contract stipulates. You can see that very quickly the process of locking people up, and keeping them there, becomes paramount for business.
And now, it has recently come to light that the private prison companies are accusing the state’s they have contracted with, of not keeping up their end of the bargain. You see, these prisons rely on a certain number of inmates for free or nearly free slave labor.
This labor is used for a variety of trades, like making uniforms for restaurants (like McDonalds and Applebee’s). However, as crime drops there aren’t enough people to do the work. When that happens production goes down and that means less money.
Here’s the even bigger kicker: slavery was never actually abolished in the United States. It is still completely legal as “punishment for a crime”, according to the 13th amendment to the Constitution.
Here USA Today explains:
“Ratified at the end of the Civil War, the amendment abolished slavery, with one critical exception: Slavery and involuntary servitude actually remain lawful “as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” In other words, according to this so-called punishment clause, if you get pulled over with the wrong controlled substance in your trunk, there’s nothing in the 13th Amendment to ensure you can’t be considered a slave of the state.
The punishment clause was taken directly from the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and reflected the belief of the time that hard work was essential to prisoners’ moral rehabilitation. But the language was also ambiguous enough to be grossly abused. Soon, the clause was being used to reinstitute slavery under another guise.”
There are more black men in prison or jail and on probation or parole currently, than were enslaved in 1850- before the Civil War even began. Given that prisons are using free labor and demanding that the prisons stay full, has anything changed? Does this mean that judges are handing out more sentences than they need to, or being extra harsh, just to fill quotas?
If this bothers you, don’t stay silent. Forward this story. Call your senators. Remember, your voice is strong.
Erin Elizabeth is a long time activist with a passion for the healing arts, working in that arena for a quarter century. Her site healthnutnews.megasitescript.com is less than 2 years old but has already cracked the top 20 Natural Health sites worldwide. She is an author, public speaker, and has recently done some TV and film programs for some of her original work which have attracted international media coverage. You can get Erin’s free e-book here and also watch a short documentary on how she overcame vaccine injuries, Lyme disease, significant weight gain, and more. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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