Please listen to this audio clip. Play particular attention to the 2.09 mark on the audio. This is when Rose Braz, campaign director of Critical Resistance begins to speaks.
Audio Clip: NPR's News & Notes - Companies Cashing in on People's Prison Stripes?
Ms. Braz speaks in a way that most frustrates me regarding what can be heard among left wing extremists.
She says "Other than private prisons Slavery is the only institution that derives its profits solely off of denying people of their right to freedom."
Given who we are locking up in this country, which is poor people of color then the prison system today have to be the key racial justice struggle we face"
"If a prison system was really about rehabilitation, the goal of that system then should be to work itself out of business."
I will admit it. Liberals are more descent human beings than the rest of us.......in their own minds that is.
All of these comments above are incredibly naive or stupid - depending on how politically correct one chooses to be.
First this lady equates the prison system to slavery with respect to the denial of a person's 'right to freedom'. Would someone venture to ask this woman if she believes that anyone should be locked up in any prison, anywhere as punishment for their decision to break the laws of this country? Thus the entire concept of "denying someone's right to freedom is really the debate at hand? A person who "got it" would make note that all Americans have their right to freedoms protected. Upon violating societal trust then the government is inclined to step in and remove them from society for a certain period of time. I wonder if Ms. Braz believes that the assault or killing of innocent Americans by a criminal represents a denial of their freedom by the criminal and what she would do about it?
Secondly she makes the case that since a disproportionate amount of people who are being incarcerated today are among the poor and minority that this is a civil rights issue that must be addressed. I ask that Ms. Braz bring in the MINORITY VICTIMS who live in the communities that are either in fear or destroyed by the antics of those who have violated the law as a counter balance to her abstract theory.
She says further that private prisons are a direct descendant to the practices of selling prison labor which itself descended from slavery. Once again she willfully perverts the role of these private prisons. These firms are providing a service that augments the government's ability to handle such a task in their own facilities. Where as the operation of the government owned facilities is represented as a line item on the state budget - it is a gross perversion of logic to then conclude that by sending individuals over to a private prison for detention within the confines of their being found guilty and then sentenced to a certain amount of time in detention.
Recently I debated another person regarding the fantasy surrounding the differences between government workers constructing airport runways and water control levees as compared to having private firms that have been contracted by the government to do so. At the end of the day - one's ideological biases defines the differences in views.
To be clear - the ruling that an American citizen should be held in detention is only the right of the government. This power must be closely guarded and open to inspection by the traditional system of checks and balances. As we specifically talk about the function of detention of these individuals as their sentences are carried out I demand that this only be done with close oversight by the government authorities that have "outsourced" the detention of these individuals to a certified private firm. I ask that there always be a government official on hand to monitor the operation to insure that it is up to par with the preexisting standards. In summary - as long as these firms are operating under the AUTHORITY of the government agency and up to the STANDARDS as set forth by the government agency then there is no magical state that is achieved in being locked up in a government owned facility or a certified private firm.
Lastly Ms. Braz says that a prison system should have the goal of working itself out of business. This statement actually pissed me off as being so idealized and ridiculous that she should be ashamed of stating it publicly. Let's logically walk through the process.
A person has been alleged to have broken the law. He is detained by the law enforcement authority. He is given a trial by a jury of his peers. He is found guilty. He is sentenced by the judicial authority. The judiciary authority turns this person over to the state correctional authority to hold this person in detention for a given term. As we apply Ms. Braz's standard to the last step - could someone tell me how the correctional authority can stop the judicial authority from sending new inmates to them and thus fullfil their idealized goal?
Let's back up a bit. Can the government as a whole serve out the goal to put the correctional facilities out of business? Around the world there are examples of this - the entire society becomes a repressed, prison-like environment that being inside of a cell or outside in public is only an incidental difference in terms. Fortunately this country has not traveled down this path - yet.
Other than this - the government could choose to not enforce its own laws or they could water down all of the punitive responses to the violations of law that the virtual effect of what Ms. Braz discusses is achieved.
Please note that Ms. Braz and other liberally inclined individuals who stand where she stands on the ideological continuum do not ask THE INDIVIDUAL IN SOCIETY who is seeking to produce a different societal outcome to do anything in particular to bring forth this improved condition. Her plan is focused almost exclusively on THE GOVERNMENT and what they need to do to bring this environment forth upon the people.
I can imagine that Ms. Braz envisions that the government will provide the social programs, the counseling, the redistributed resources - necessary to bring forth this wonderful environment.
But wait - Ms. Braz - what about those who commit a HATE CRIME during this Utopian period in our time of existence? Will you allow these people who were motivated by HATRED to maintain their freedoms or will they said to be a victim of their environ just the same. A mental reorientation program could correct them from their hateful thoughts, no doubt.
I am obliged to ask Ms. Braz what I have learned to be an effective reality check on their theories: "Would you point to one particular country around the world that most closely approximates the conditions that you speak of so favorably?"