The Future of Our Private Prisons
by Jim Caton
Hillary Clinton’s recent vow to end privatized prisons and immigrant detention centers and her renunciation of contributions from firms such as GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America amount to yet another insult added to the fatal injuries long since sustained by American liberalism.
The corporate media’s candidate for president made the campaign promise amid calls from her supporters to divest herself of contributions from for-profit prison companies and to reverse the country’s increasingly visible tide of mass incarceration. In doing so she continues to read from the now-familiar script in which she follows Democratic lightning rod Bernie Sanders into the storm of public discontent over stagnant wages, shriveling opportunities and rampant social injustice. Consider it liberal-ish stump-cred for the Democratic nominee-to-be.
Clinton, however, whose One-Percent ties are unassailable, is beside the point, as is the presidential election itself. The ruling class will continue to rule. Worthy of our notice, though, is the grim reality beneath the political rhetoric. That is, you and I now live in a country that countenances prisons-for-profit. Absurd as it is, this phenomenon is not an aberration, not a wacky scheme that popped up someplace and has caught the nation’s momentary attention. Privatized prisons are symptomatic and are an inevitable development in an economy where public monies constitute almost the only keg left to tap. Our schools, our water supply, the pensions of public employees—these erstwhile public obligations now constitute cash cows for each state’s corporate elite.
Whatever the promises of politicians, this economic reality is not going away but will only intensify as the global Ponzi scheme accelerates toward the cliff. Unless sufficient numbers of citizens openly reject this economic system and its political theater, we are guaranteed a state in which public affairs remain a private affair.