I read an article last week that was so annoying that I need to share it with you. It will give you a sense of the opposition we face in our pursuit of fairer sentences – and why we need to unite and fight.Last week, USA Today reported that a private prison company offered 48 states the following deal: we will buy and manage your prisons and in return you must promise to keep them full! The contract requires that the prisons remain 90 percent full for 20 years into the future.
The private prison company knows that states are looking for ways to balance their budgets. If the company buys their prisons, states will get some immediate cash. But in order to make the biggest profit possible, the company wants states to agree to keep the prisons full. How do you suppose they’re going to keep the prisons full? By supporting sentencing policies that put more people in prison and keep them there for decades. Ugh.
I know private prisons exist and I’m enough of a capitalist to accept that everyone has a right to make money. However, profiting on other people’s misery goes too far. Besides, there are much better ways to reduce prison spending: eliminate mandatory sentences and adopt alternatives to prison for low-level offenders.
That model of containing costs is already succeeding. States like New York, South Carolina, and Texas have managed tight budgets and soaring corrections costs by getting rid of mandatory minimum prison sentences for many low-level, nonviolent offenders and substituting treatment for those who need it, instead of prison.
You and I know that smart sentencing policies save money – and lives. We need to make sure everyone knows that.
Please contact FAMM today so we can unite and fight against the kind of nonsense offered by the private prison industry.
Armed with indignation –
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 822-6704 fax