Prison, the Growth Industry


I just read an article that really blew my mind.  (Thanks to ProvokingThought for pointing me to it.)  Here’s a quote, just for a sampler.  Somehow I have never realized how huge this is.

Today, approximately 1.8 million Americans are behind bars; no other nation imprisons more of its citizens. At the current growth rate, by the year 2050 half of the US population will be incarcerated.

The prospect is, of course, absurd: society would cease to function. But what drives this headlong rush towards the unimaginable?

Prison is no longer just a crime and punishment business, it is a money business. From the chain gang to the isolation unit, incarceration has become one of America’s fastest-growing industries, a sure thing in a softening economy. Generating over $30 billion a year in the US — more than baseball, more than pornography — the thriving prison industry has created millionaires with a vested interest in filling cells and employees with a fatalistic attitude to their long-term guests. “Let’s face it,” one warden recently remarked, “they’re here to die.”

Read the full article here   Somehow the phrase that I put in bold really amazed me.  It’s hard to believe that in America, the nation that so many people want to immigrate to, there is a larger prison population than in any dictatorship.  And the fact that prison has become a huge business means that we can’t survive without it.  Like social services, there are so many jobs involved that we can’t afford to have many people leave the system.

Another tidbit that shocked me was the fact that the average sentence served for dealing crack cocaine is almost twice as long as the average sentence for homicide.  Something about this country has become sick, very sick.



About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
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4 Responses to Prison, the Growth Industry

  1. mcbery says:

    I found this very interesting!

  2. BooksForMe says:

    Well, as a missionary to prison, I see this from a very different perspective.  The simple truth of the matter is, nearly 1 in 3 Americans are incarcerated or tied to the corrections system somehow (parole or probation).  As Christians, we all should be asking ourselves if that statistic is reflected in our church.  The societal issues aren’t going away.  They will get worse.  (“As in the days of Noah…”) However, we were not called to fix society.  We were called to reach the lost.  Within our nation, that is a major segment of our population, crossing all ethnic and social boundaries, that we really can reach.  I pray for the day 1 in 3 people in every godly church is a man or woman who was once inside.About your last statement, our justice system is very broken.  And, to call it just is very much a misnomer.  Politicians and DAs and judges are SO motivated to put people in prison and give them long sentences, because it wins them votes and secures their jobs.  Drugs are a hot issue.  Well, I don’t mean to write a book no one wants to read. 

  3. BooksForMe says:

    P.S.  COs (prison guards) make a very good living.  The prison parking lot if full of very nice, new cars. It is extremely profitable to put folks in jail. 

  4. homefire says:

    @BooksForMe – Thanks for your input.  Sad.  I just never had seen info like this before.

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