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Thankfully Idaho has opted out of  CCA’s ICC private prison due to too many bad headlines and lawsuits. 

Private Prisons and the Creation of a Permanent Under Class
Posted: 03/11/2014 3:13 pm EDT

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“Prison ain’t the place to find your right of passage in, it’s slavery, with nasty food in your abdomen.” Immortal Technique (Parole, The 3rd World)

Unfortunately, for increasing numbers of teenage African American and Latino males, prison is becoming a rite of passage and their presence in juvenile detention facilities has become more and more profitable. Nearly forty percent of American juvenile detention facilities are private and in Florida, it is 100 percent. Increasingly, financially strapped states hire private prison corporations to run their incarceration facilities in order to gain a large financial payout. This seemingly ‘logical’ financial move by states to outsource their incarceration to private companies makes imprisonment a newly booming business. While the government’s goal for incarcerating people is to ‘rehabilitate’ them into becoming productive members of society, private prison companies’ goals for incarcerating people is to make profits through keeping prison beds filled (thus, the private companies require states to meet a certain quota of prisoners). At the same time that states are pouring more money into incarceration, they are slashing their educational budgets. The concurrent defunding of public education and the privatizing of juvenile detention facilities is creating a school to prison pipeline that is heavily racialized and gendered.

The “school-to-prison pipeline” highlights the racial inequalities associated with incarceration and educational opportunities within the U.S. Most of the students targeted for disciplinary action at public schools are male, African American, Latino, low-income, or disabled. Disabled African American students are suspended at three times the rate of their disabled white peers. One in three African American men will spend time incarcerated, and one in seven Latino men. The massive public school closures occurring in urban centers like Chicago and Oakland are leaving thousands of children without an option for education, pushing them towards the privatized juvenile facility beds. Teaching at a public university in Miami-Dade county has opened my eyes to the ways in which urban public schools have largely become prisons: my students would tell me about armed police, metal detectors, metal bar doors that would lock students inside, and feeling threatened enough to carry weapons to school. This ‘conditioning’ of lower income and minority students to prison-like conditions in their educational setting makes it an easier ‘transition’ for when they do eventually end up in some form of correctional facility. Noam Chomsky calls the War on Drugs and massive incarceration of nonviolent offenders the rich man’s counterinsurgency.

Many people argue that private prisons are more cost effective than state run prisons and provide financial savings to taxpayers. This mythos of cost effectiveness has been debunked by a recent Yale economic study. While private prisons do have lower costs on average per prisoner, the high increased rates of recidivism after release from a private prison makes it actually more costly in the long term. There have been reports of increased physical and sexual abuse occurring in private prisons. The U.S. Department of Justice released a report that states 9.5 percent of juveniles in detention facilities are subject to sexual abuse. Instead of educating children in low income urban areas, our society decides it is a better investment for taxpayers to incarcerate them. However, as the Yale study pointed out, prisons are definitely not more cost-effective than education in preventing criminality. Despite all this evidence that private prisons, and incarceration in general, do not produce the most cost effective ways to manage crime within our society, we continue on this expensive and unjust path. This is because these policies are enacted in order to create a permanent underclass within American society that is racialized and classed.

The fact that nearly 10 percent of teenage youth in detention facilities are abused is horrifying enough, but we often forget how damaging a criminal record is once people are released back into society. In a number of states, felons cannot vote, and this law continues the tradition of racist voter suppression laws in a much more covert manner. In this way, the urban underclass created through the school-prison pipeline is largely left out of politics and making real changes to the current incarceration systems that oppress them. As mentioned earlier, rates of recidivism in private juvenile facilities are significantly higher than rates for state run facilities and hovers around forty percent. The vicious cycle of incarceration and recidivism is largely due to the way in which our society treats released prisoners. Many have a hard time finding employment once they are released because of their criminal records and often end up right back where they started. In this way, we are creating a permanent underclass that remains uneducated, unemployable, and that eventually becomes disenfranchised, both legally and intellectually, from the political system. And the face of this member of the permanent underclass is overwhelmingly black or brown and male.

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(Also many thanks to Huffington Post)

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Analysis: Manning plea offer in WikiLeaks case carries risk, reward

Fri, Nov 09 20:06 PM EST

By Andrew Longstreth

NEW YORK (Reuters) – An offer of a partial plea by the U.S. Army private accused of leaking documents to WikiLeaks appears to be a two-pronged defense strategy that seeks to win sympathy from the judge and to shift the focus of the trial to charges that are more difficult to prove, legal experts said.

The offer from the accused private, Bradley Manning, was made public late Wednesday by his attorney, who indicated in a blog post that his client was willing to plead guilty to less serious offenses than those charged by prosecutors while contesting the other accusations in court.

The so-called naked plea is a rarely used tactic employed in military court proceedings and would only have to be accepted by the judge overseeing the case. It does not require consent from prosecutors who have brought 22 charges against Manning in what has been described as the largest leak of classified government documents in history.

Manning is accused of passing the documents to WikiLeaks, the online whistleblowing site founded by Australian Internet activist Julian Assange. WikiLeaks has never confirmed that Manning was the source of any documents it released.

Among other charges, Manning is accused of unauthorized possession of information related to national defense and stealing records belonging to the United States.

In his blog post, Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, wrote that his client is “attempting to accept responsibility for offences that are encapsulated within, or are a subset of, the charged offenses.” This process is known as pleading by exceptions and substitutions.

Coombs did not respond to messages seeking comment.

The plea tactic seems aimed at achieving two goals, legal experts said.

First, it is seen as an attempt by Manning to curry favor with the judge in a bid for a more lenient sentence. Under this theory, Manning hopes the judge will go easy on him for acknowledging actions he would not be able to refute at trial, said Victor Hansen, a former military lawyer and a professor at New England Law School.

“He can say ‘I manned up to what I did,'” said Hansen.


At the same time, Manning could be trying to pare down the prosecution’s case to the most difficult charges to prove, including accusations that he intended to aid the enemy – in this case, al Qaeda.

Proving that Manning intended to aid the enemy could require prosecutors to establish that Manning wanted the leaked information to reach al Qaeda, and that is a high legal bar, said David Velloney, a military law expert who is a professor at the Regent University School of Law.

“He’s looking to fight the case in the most tactically favorable way and in the light most favorable to him,” said Velloney.

But there are dangers in Manning’s strategy. Even if the judge accepts the deal, there is no guarantee that Manning will be credited for pleading guilty to certain offenses in this late stage of the case.

By pleading guilty to certain facts, Manning also gives up any right to contest them at trial, which could make it easier for the government to prove its most serious charges.

“That’s the cost-benefit analysis you have to do,” said Philip Cave, a military law expert in private practice.

WikiLeaks founder Assange faces extradition to Sweden from Britain for questioning in a sexual molestation case. He has taken refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

Assange and his supporters have said the Swedish case against him could be part of a secret plot to have him shipped for trial to the United States and either executed or imprisoned at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

U.S. officials have denied those assertions. But they have acknowledged that a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, has been collecting evidence about WikiLeaks and some of its activists. Officials have not ruled out U.S. criminal charges against Assange.

(Reporting by Andrew Longstreth; additional reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Jim Loney)

Notes From There


The Rose Garden at Julia Davis Park in Boise, Idaho. (Egads! They’ve dyed the water blue now!)

“Joy is not in things, it’s in us.”  Richard Wagner (German Composer)

I saved up for months for a big encyclopedia once and remember how anxious I was waiting for it to arrive.  It was as if I’d refused to be satisfied until it came–I was so obsessed.  Well, when the order was cancelled because of being a few cents shy on the money order I was pretty bummed out.  Chow even tasted extra lousy.  Fortunately, though, I happened to see a special on TV asking for fifty dollar donations to give wheelchairs to the legless folks in Africa.  I couldn’t bear my misery any longer.  I ended up sending them my fifty dollars and I skipped the book.  The heavens parted and, believe it or not, my pouting was replace with the joy of doing a good deed.  Which, by the way, I’ve milked ever since inside of myself.


“Never insult an alligator until you’ve crossed the river.”  Cordell Hull (father of the United Nations)

Many times here in prison I’ve held back from telling someone what I thought of them.  And this is especially when doing so could cost me a lot of trouble here.  One example when I failed to hold back, though, was when I got sassy with the parole board at a hearing.  That’s easily the dumbest thing I’ve ever done next to my crime.  It was truly about as dumb as splashing at an alligator while crossing the river.

Notes From There


Awesomely cute drawing by my niece, Lisa Jones.

“As far as your self control goes, as far goes your freedom.”  Marie Von Edner-Eschenbach

Mac Bledsoe in Parenting With Dignity says that rules give you freedom.  I agree.  Rules provide a structure whereby you can practice your freedoms and appreciate them. They give responsibility and self-control which allows the trust needed to do bigger and better things.  In prison this is how I get beyond its walls.  More privileges are afforded me; I have more personal space; and, most of all, I’m able to appreciate and enjoy the freedom I do have–instead of being out there always complaining about it.


“When one door closes, another opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we don’t see the one which has opened for us.”  Alexander Graham Bell

When the door closed on my life outside with my family all I could do was to stare through that keyhole for the longest time.  But then a door beside that door opened–slapping me up against my backside.  It was the door to the rest of my life.  And there, behind it, was my family waiting for me.


“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”. H. Jackson Brown

I try to have good habits because I know they’re the best way to be prepared.   Yesterday I did my very best to get to sleep early–in spite of all the racket all around me.  Then low and behold, I woke up today refreshed and ready to roll–at 3:30 in the morning.