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Bernie Sanders Just Promised To End The For-Profit Prison Industry
Bernie Sanders Just Promised To End The For-Profit Prison Industry

Bernie Sanders Just Promised To End The For-Profit Prison Industry

Counter Current
August 20, 2015


At a Nevada rally for Bernie Sanders last night, the Democratic hopeful focused on issues of police brutality and civil rights.

One particular area where Sanders focused in his speech was on the private prison industry. If he has anything to say about it, the democratic candidate said, he will end the for-profit, private prison industry.

"When congress reconvenes in September, I will be offering legislation, I will be introducing legislation, which takes corporations out of profiteering from running jails."

As you might imagine, this drew huge applause from the crowd.

Watch the video below, or click here for the exact minute mark in the speech.

Recently, the private prison industry threatened to sue states unless they get more inmates for free labor.

Freedom is apparently bad for business. That's the message from the private prison industry which is threatening to sue states if they don't start locking more people up.

The private prison companies, well-known for profiting off of incarceration and crime, is now saying that the state's they have contracted with aren't keeping up their end of the bargain. The private prisons rely on a certain number of inmates for free and virtually-free slave labor.

That labor is used for a variety of trades, including making uniforms for popular restaurants like McDonalds and Applebee's. But if the private prisons don't have enough inmates locked up then production goes down correlative with the decrease in free labor (i.e. slavery).

It comes as a surprise to many Americans, but slavery was never actually abolished in the United States. That's not a metaphor, it's a matter of careful reading of the 13th amendment to the Constitution. That amendment - often lauded for abolishing slavery - actually makes an exception for prisons. Slavery is still completely legal as "punishment for a crime."

USA Today explains the following:
Ratified at the end of the Civil War, the amendment abolished slavery, with one critical exception: Slavery and involuntary servitude actually remain lawful "as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted." In other words, according to this so-called punishment clause, if you get pulled over with the wrong controlled substance in your trunk, there's nothing in the 13th Amendment to ensure you can't be considered a slave of the state.

The punishment clause was taken directly from the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and reflected the belief of the time that hard work was essential to prisoners' moral rehabilitation. But the language was also ambiguous enough to be grossly abused. Soon, the clause was being used to reinstitute slavery under another guise.

Consider that there are more African Americans behind bars today than there were enslaved at any given time in American history and it becomes clear how corporations got their "work around" to keep slavery 100% legal. This is nothing new. This is the way it has been since slavery was supposedly abolished.

Now, the private prison industries say the government isn't keeping up their end contracts for this slave labor.

Those government agencies signed contracts guaranteeing a minimum occupancy or quota of prisoner-slaves

California guarantees that prisons will be filled to 70% capacity at all times. Arizona promises almost 100% occupancy.

With crime dropping, the private prison industry is losing money and they are none too pleased.

In order to avoid these lawsuits, judges will have to dish out extra-long maximum sentences - not because the defendant deserves it, but because the state wants to keep these contracts in good standing with the private prison industry.


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