III. The prison industrial complex and the whole criminal (in)justice system. From virtually no private “gulags” until the early 1980, between 1990 and 2009 the number of prisoners in private prisons increased by approximately 1600% [American Civil Liberties Union, “Banking on Bondage: Private Prisons and Mass Incarceration”, ACLU National Prison Project and Center for Justice, November 2, 2011]. We should add here the war on drugs and generally the aberrant sentencing terms. Poverty is a key factor here, in David Shipler’s words, “free citizens imprisoned by the unyielding laws of economics”. [D. K. Shipler, The Working Poor – Invisible in America, Alfred A.Knopf New York 2004]. Since 1970 prisons population has grown 700 percent and the expenses have quadrupled, being the fastest growing budget after Medicaid. [C. Henrichson & R. Delaney, “The Price of Prisons – What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers”]. The United States has only 5 percent of world’s population but is leading in the number of prisoners produced, with a staggering 25 percent of world’s prisoners [Adam Liptak, “U.S. prison population dwarfs that of other nations”, NYTimes.com, April 23, 2008].
I suppose there are still states that are building more prisons than schools. An interesting fact to check.
The American cultural value of self-reliance? This is the tune we always hear from the powerful elites… while they suck and wasting your tax dollars (paying symbolic taxes, corporate welfare, etc.). You are at the mercy of so many known and unknown factors in this complex world. Nevertheless, the tune of “self-reliance” is one more to keep you self-deluded and appeased. Yeah…They will make America great Again…If you pay attention this is exactly the areas that the current administration wants to “improve” – to make you even weaker! I hope I already cured you previously from “exceptionalism” and “indispensability”?
I will stop here!