Friday, April 5, 2013

Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) And Its Allies Profit From the Human Misery In the American Gulag System

CCA directly profits from the human misery involved in the crackdown on "illegal immigrants." CCA is the largest prison corporation and a member of ALEC,American Legislative Executive Council (ALEC), and has negotiated contracts with states that guarantee 90 percent occupancy rates for the length of the contract, some of which are 20 to 30 years. ALEC has been behind laws that allow prison labor at private prisons, paying inmates as little as 17 cents per hour. The demand for prison labor by corporations such as IBM, AT&T and 3M creates a greater incentive to incarcerate. CCA is also known for human rights violations, cutting services to save money and increase profits. On March 27, hundreds of inmates at the Cibola County Correctional Center in New Mexico staged a 12-hour protest over prison conditions. Last year, prisoners in Mississippi violently rioted over lack of health care and abusive conditions, as did inmates at another CCA prison in Texas in 2010. A September 2012 report found private prisons to be unsafe, unnecessary and expensive. This week immigrant activists held protests outside of Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D – New York) office to draw attention to the support he has received over the years from the private prison industry. Schumer is a member of the gang of eight in the Senate, the group that is tasked with crafting an immigration reform bill. He also is the recipient of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the GEO Group and the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). Note that one of Schumer’s biggest donors is Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, which lobbies for CCA. Activists are highlighting the Senator’s efforts to prioritize enforcement and punitive measures over policies to unite families. Some of the things that Schumer has done that activists are take issue with include: advocating for more border security at a time when the border is supposed to be the most secure, supporting the implementation of a national I.D. card, and calling the undocumented “illegals.“ The CEO of CCA has even admitted recently to investors that the impact of any immigration reform would be positive because “There’s always going to be a demand for beds.” Just this past Sunday on Meet the Press, Senator Schumer expressed optimism that an immigration bill would be introduced soon, saying, “With the agreement between business and labor, every major policy issue has been resolved on the gang of eight. Now everyone, we’ve all agreed that we’re not going to come to a final agreement until we see draft legislative language and we all agree on that. We’ve drafted some of it already, the rest will be drafted this week. So I’m very optimistic that we will have an agreement among the eight of us next week.” Aside from the protests in New York, there were protests in other cities including Los Angeles outside of a downtown federal building, where protesters held signs that said, “Senator Schumer: you have a Latino problem.”

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