NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT: THE LOGIC OF THE MARKET February 20, 2009Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, US Politics.
Australia was fortunate to have state run prisons from the settlement of Botany Bay onwards. Then we regressed to private prisons, at least for refugees.
As usual, in all matters or fundamental regression, we were just the followers, not the leaders. The United States as in all things free market is the shining city on the hill, including private prisons. Once private prisons are established the logic of the market takes over. Then as night follows day, children are incarcerated in private prisons and judges are bribed to keep the numbers flowing.
Amy Goodman reports, via Common Dreams:
As many as 5,000 children in Pennsylvania have been found guilty, and up to 2,000 of them jailed, by two corrupt judges who received kickbacks from the builders and owners of private prison facilities that benefited. The two judges pleaded guilty in a stunning case of greed and corruption that is still unfolding. Judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan received $2.6 million in kickbacks while imprisoning children who often had no access to a lawyer. The case offers an extraordinary glimpse into the shameful private prison industry that is flourishing in the United States.
One effect of the financial crisis may be a search for alternative systems of justice, of which the prison or correctional system is a part, that provides greater economic and social returns, rather than electoral political returns.
Privately run prisons seems to me an inherently problematic proposition, and that seems suggested by the evidence. I am not suggesting that state-run institutions are great either. So what works, and what works best? These are important questions since prisons affect people who many us are happy not to think about, but for whom we have some responsibility.