The Prison State Of America

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Chris Hedges via TruthDig,

Prisons employ and exploit the ideal worker. Prisoners do not receive benefits or pensions. They are not paid overtime. They are forbidden to organize and strike. They must show up on time. They are not paid for sick days or granted vacations. They cannot formally complain about working conditions or safety hazards. If they are disobedient, or attempt to protest their pitiful wages, they lose their jobs and can be sent to isolation cells. The roughly 1 million prisoners who work for corporations and government industries in the American prison system are models for what the corporate state expects us all to become. And corporations have no intention of permitting prison reforms that would reduce the size of their bonded workforce. In fact, they are seeking to replicate these conditions throughout the society.

States, in the name of austerity, have stopped providing prisoners with essential items including shoes, extra blankets and even toilet paper, while starting to charge them for electricity and room and board. Most prisoners and the families that struggle to support them are chronically short of money. Prisons are company towns. Scrip, rather than money, was once paid to coal miners, and it could be used only at the company store. Prisoners are in a similar condition. When they go broke—and being broke is a frequent occurrence in prison—prisoners must take out prison loans to pay for medications, legal and medical fees and basic commissary items such as soap and deodorant. Debt peonage inside prison is as prevalent as it is outside prison.

States impose an array of fees on prisoners. For example, there is a 10 percent charge imposed by New Jersey on every commissary purchase. Stamps have a 10 percent surcharge. Prisoners must pay the state for a 15-minute deathbed visit to an immediate family member or a 15-minute visit to a funeral home to view the deceased. New Jersey, like most other states, forces a prisoner to reimburse the system for overtime wages paid to the two guards who accompany him or her, plus mileage cost. The charge can be as high as $945.04. It can take years to pay off a visit with a dying father or mother.

Fines, often in the thousands of dollars, are assessed against many prisoners when they are sentenced. There are 22 fines that can be imposed in New Jersey, including the Violent Crime Compensation Assessment (VCCB), the Law Enforcement Officers Training & Equipment Fund (LEOT) and Extradition Costs (EXTRA). The state takes a percentage each month out of prison pay to pay down the fines, a process that can take decades. If a prisoner who is fined $10,000 at sentencing must rely solely on a prison salary he or she will owe about $4,000 after making payments for 25 years. Prisoners can leave prison in debt to the state. And if they cannot continue to make regular payments—difficult because of high unemployment—they are sent back to prison. High recidivism is part of the design.

Corporations have privatized most of the prison functions once handled by governments. They run prison commissaries and, since the prisoners have nowhere else to shop, often jack up prices by as much as 100 percent. Corporations have taken over the phone systems and charge exorbitant fees to prisoners and their families. They grossly overcharge for money transfers from families to prisoners. And these corporations, some of the nation’s largest, pay little more than a dollar a day to prison laborers who work in for-profit prison industries. Food and merchandise vendors, construction companies, laundry services, uniforms companies, prison equipment vendors, cafeteria services, manufacturers of pepper spray, body armor and the array of medieval instruments used for the physical control of prisoners, and a host of other contractors feed like jackals off prisons. Prisons, in America, are a hugely profitable business.

Our prison-industrial complex, which holds 2.3 million prisoners, or 25 percent of the world’s prison population, makes money by keeping prisons full. It demands bodies, regardless of color, gender or ethnicity. As the system drains the pool of black bodies, it has begun to incarcerate others. Women—the fastest-growing segment of the prison population—are swelling prisons, as are poor whites in general, Hispanics and immigrants. Prisons are no longer a black-white issue. Prisons are a grotesque manifestation of corporate capitalism. Slavery is legal in prisons under the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It reads: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States. …” And the massive U.S. prison industry functions like the forced labor camps that have existed in all totalitarian states. 

Corporate investors, who have poured billions into the business of mass incarceration, expect long-term returns. And they will get them. It is their lobbyists who write the draconian laws that demand absurdly long sentences, deny paroles, determine immigrant detention laws and impose minimum-sentence and three-strikes-out laws (mandating life sentences after three felony convictions). The politicians and the courts, subservient to corporate power, can be counted on to protect corporate interests.

Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the largest owner of for-profit prisons and immigration detention facilities in the country, had revenues of $1.7 billion in 2013 and profits of $300 million. CCA holds an average of 81,384 inmates in its facilities on any one day. Aramark Holdings Corp., a Philadelphia-based company that contracts through Aramark Correctional Services to provide food to 600 correctional institutions across the United States, was acquired in 2007 for $8.3 billion by investors that included Goldman Sachs.

The three top for-profit prison corporations spent an estimated $45 million over a recent 10-year period for lobbying that is keeping the prison business flush. The resource center In the Public Interest documented in its report “Criminal: How Lockup Quotas and ‘Low-Crime Taxes’ Guarantee Profits for Private Prison Corporations” that private prison companies often sign state contracts that guarantee prison occupancy rates of 90 percent. If states fail to meet the quota they have to pay the corporations for the empty beds. 

CCA in 2011 gave $710,300 in political contributions to candidates for federal or state office, political parties and so-called 527 groups (PACs and super PACs), the American Civil Liberties Union reported. The corporation also spent $1.07 million lobbying federal officials plus undisclosed sums to lobby state officials, according to the ACLU.

The United States, from 1970 to 2005, increased its prison population by about 700 percent, according to statistics gathered by the ACLU. The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, the ACLU report notes, says for-profit companies presently control about 18 percent of federal prisoners and 6.7 percent of all state prisoners. Private prisons account for nearly all newly built prisons. And nearly half of all immigrants detained by the federal government are shipped to for-profit prisons, according to Detention Watch Network.

But corporate profit is not limited to building and administering prisons. Whole industries now rely almost exclusively on prison labor. Federal prisoners, who are among the highest paid in the U.S. system, making as much as $1.25 an hour, produce the military’s helmets, uniforms, pants, shirts, ammunition belts, ID tags and tents. Prisoners work, often through subcontractors, for major corporations such as Chevron, Bank of America, IBM, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Starbucks, Nintendo, Victoria’s Secret, J.C. Penney, Sears, Wal-Mart, Kmart, Eddie Bauer, Wendy’s, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Fruit of the Loom, Motorola, Caterpillar, Sara Lee, Quaker Oats, Mary Kay, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, Dell, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin and Target. Prisoners in some states run dairy farms, staff call centers, take hotel reservations or work in slaughterhouses. And prisoners are used to carry out public services such as collecting highway trash in states such as Ohio. 

States, with shrinking budgets, share in the corporate exploitation. They get kickbacks of as much as 40 percent from corporations that prey on prisoners. This kickback money is often supposed to go into “inmate welfare funds,” but prisoners say they rarely see any purchases made by the funds to improve life inside prison.

The wages paid to prisoners for labor inside prisons have remained stagnant and in real terms have declined over the past three decades. In New Jersey a prisoner made $1.20 for eight hours of work—yes, eight hours of work—in 1980 and today makes $1.30 for a day’s labor. Prisoners earn, on average, $28 a month. Those incarcerated in for-profit prisons earn as little as 17 cents an hour.

However, items for sale in prison commissaries have risen in price over the past two decades by as much as 100 percent. And new rules in some prisons, including those in New Jersey, prohibit families to send packages to prisoners, forcing prisoners to rely exclusively on prison vendors. This is as much a psychological blow as a material one; it leaves families feeling powerless to help loved ones trapped in the system.

A bar of Dove soap in 1996 cost New Jersey prisoners 97 cents. Today it costs $1.95, an increase of 101 percent. A tube of Crest toothpaste cost $2.35 in 1996 and today costs $3.49, an increase of 48 percent. AA batteries have risen by 184 percent, and a stick of deodorant has risen by 95 percent. The only two items I found that remained the same in price from 1996 were frosted flake cereal and cups of noodles, but these items in prisons have been switched from recognizable brand names to generic products. The white Reebok shoes that most prisoners wear, shoes that lasts about six months, costs about $45 a pair. Those who cannot afford the Reebok brand must buy, for $20, shoddy shoes with soles that shred easily. In addition, prisoners are charged for visits to the infirmary and the dentist and for medications.

Keefe Supply Co., which runs commissaries for an estimated half a million prisoners in states including Florida and Maryland, is notorious for price gouging. It sells a single No. 10 white envelope for 15 cents—$15 per 100 envelopes. The typical retail cost outside prison for a box of 100 of these envelopes is $7. The company marks up a 3-ounce packet of noodle soup, one of the most popular commissary items, to 45 cents from 26 cents.

Global Tel Link, a private phone company, jacks up phone rates in New Jersey to 15 cents a minute, although some states, such as New York, have relieved the economic load on families by reducing the charge to 4 cents a minute. The Federal Communications Commission has determined that a fair rate for a 15-minute interstate call by a prisoner is $1.80 for debit and $2.10 for collect. The high phone rates imposed on prisoners, who do not have a choice of carriers and must call either collect or by using debit accounts that hold prepaid deposits made by them or their families, are especially damaging to the 2 million children with a parent behind bars. The phone is a lifeline for the children of the incarcerated.

Monopolistic telephone contracts give to the states kickbacks amounting, on average, to 42 percent of gross revenues from prisoner phone calls, according to Prison Legal News. The companies with exclusive prison phone contracts not only charge higher phone rates but add to the phone charges the cost of the kickbacks, called “commissions” by state agencies, according to research conducted in 2011 by John E. Dannenberg for Prison Legal News. Dannenberg found that the phone market in state prison systems generates an estimated $362 million annually in gross revenues for the states and costs prisoners’ families, who put money into phone accounts, some $143 million a year.

When strong family ties are retained, there are lower rates of recidivism and fewer parole violations. But that is not what the corporate architects of prisons want: High recidivism, now at over 60 percent, keeps the cages full. This is one reason, I suspect, why prisons make visitations humiliating and difficult. It is not uncommon for prisoners to tell their families—especially those that include small children traumatized by the security screening, long waits, body searches, clanging metal doors and verbal abuse by guards—not to visit. Prisoners with life sentences frequently urge loved ones to sever all ties with them and consider them as dead.

The rise of what Marie Gottschalk, the author of “Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics,” calls “the carceral state” is ominous. It will not be reformed through elections or by appealing to political elites or the courts. Prisons are not, finally, about race, although poor people of color suffer the most. They are not even about being poor. They are prototypes for the future. They are emblematic of the disempowerment and exploitation that corporations seek to inflict on all workers. If corporate power continues to disembowel the country, if it is not impeded by mass protests and revolt, life outside prison will soon resemble life in prison.

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lordbyroniv's picture

Hunger Games coming to a district near you.

Jeff the Terrible's picture
Jeff the Terrible (not verified) lordbyroniv Dec 30, 2014 9:38 PM

The wall st funded jail market crash when drugs are legalized

 

http://y2u.be/VI6tBwVjyOY

CrazyCooter's picture

Drug crimes will be replaced with debt crimes in the future.

I don't defend the drug laws at all, but too many folks assume the goal posts don't move. They will. And not paying debt will become the new crime that gets you imprisonded. All part of the planned crash that is coming, one way or the other.

Better get your shit together now!

Regards,

Cooter

EDIT: Very 70s (if y'all don't mind) ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjbo-JLnHZQ

garypaul's picture

CrazyCooter, that was Comment of the Year.

boogerbently's picture

So, kill off all the citizen workers, and replace with prisoners for just a meager improvement in their lifestyle.

Harry Balzak's picture

'Drug crimes will be replaced with debt crimes in the future.'

Political and thought crimes, too.  Some of the oligarchs have already proclaimed that proponents of individual sovereignty are enemies of the state, and associating the sentiment of 'hate' with various criminal acts can increase sentences considerably.  

The state is arbitrarily establishing a pseudo-right to be unoffended.  But this illegitimate and false 'right' is nothing more than a delegated priviledge provided to populations with political capital.  It doesn't work, so the state will attribute failure to the narrow definiation of 'hate'.  

How long before anger, frustration, and impatience are included?  What other sentiments might the state deem inappropriate?  Perhaps teaching kids gun safety or the fallacy of global warming will be considered 'corruption of the youth'.  I think some smart guy died for that once.   Or maybe not; maybe he died because he annoyed the state and the state's sophists figured out a politically adventagous way to dispatch him.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPECjlMpliU

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-09-12/harry-reid-proclaims-anarchists...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_crime_laws_in_the_United_States

Overfed's picture

A privatized prison system is one of the greatest abominations ever foisted upon mankind.

Ghordius's picture

I usually dislike the word abomination, which I prefer to keep in the pages of religious books, but I broadly agree

there are several things that should not, imo, be privatized, subjected to the demands of capital, markets and the profit motive, in short, capitalistic

prisons ought to be the domain of the state. thanks to it's "socialistic" inefficiency, the state is usually not that easily capable of transforming them into a growing business

what the US has now is a huge profitable beast that is enslaving millions and making huge profits out of that, including lobbyists finding ways to milk the taxpayer, too

armies ought to be the domain of the state. thanks to it's "socialistic" inefficiency, the state is usually not that easily capable of transforming them into a growing business

what the US has now is a huge profitable mercenary industry that is lobbying for war and making huge profits out of that, on the back of the taxpayer, of course

basic healthcare ought to be the domain of the state. thanks to it's "socialistic" inefficiency, the state is usually not that easily capable of transforming them into a growing business

what the US has now is a huge profitable beast that is making millions sick and making huge profits out of that, including lobbyists finding ways to milk the taxpayer, too

key infrastructure ought to be the domain of the state. thanks to it's "socialistic" inefficiency, the state is usually not that easily capable of transforming them into a growing business

to this, have a look at the US railways: again, they have become the monopoly of one oligarch, a veritable throwback to the Robber Baron era

some stuff ought to be the domain of the state and it's "socialistic" tendencies because of it's inefficiency and because it's easier to keep transparent what ought to be transparent

note: it's not always about common goods, it's often about common bads. prisons are there because of crime, a common bad. armies are supposed to be there because of enemies, a common bad. basic healthcare is supposed to be because of illnesses like pestilences, a common bad. and private monopolies are a common bad

this is my main criticism of Libertarianism, despite the fact that I'm extremely sympathetic to the Austrian School: very few good answers against common bads. as long as there is no libertarian solution to common bads, I ask the state to take care of that

another common bad: student debt, leading to debt serfdom. there, I see an excess of personal freedom leading to the opposite of freedom, veritable lifelong serfdom

just my personal political stance, call me statist, if you want

nobita's picture

Couldn´t agree with you more man. I am also a follower of the austrian school and mostly a libertarian but some parts of society just has to be seperate from the free market.

Running prisons, schools, armies and hospitals should be done without profit motive. 

weburke's picture

Apparently you missed this from the article........

 

"There are 22 fines that can be imposed in New Jersey, including the Violent Crime Compensation Assessment (VCCB), the Law Enforcement Officers Training & Equipment Fund (LEOT) and Extradition Costs (EXTRA). The state takes a percentage each month out of prison pay to pay down the fines, a process that can take decades. If a prisoner who is fined $10,000 at sentencing must rely solely on a prison salary he or she will owe about $4,000 after making payments for 25 years. Prisoners can leave prison in debt to the state. And if they cannot continue to make regular payments—difficult because of high unemployment—they are sent back to prison. High recidivism is part of the design."

boogerbently's picture

The "design" by the now privatized prison system..

MeBizarro's picture

Already seen this happen with people who are being imprisoned for outstanding fines/levies in local/county jails and put in prison for that debt.  Supreme Court ruled on it earlier this year but it didn't completely do away with it:  

http://www.npr.org/2014/05/21/313118629/supreme-court-ruling-not-enough-...

Another reason I support the ACLU (saw that will get a bunch of red down votes) but they have made this one of their bigger issues and vehemently fought against any kind of debtor prison and sentencing in the past few years. 

Ghost Writer's picture

That or robotics will become even more economical, and the prisioners will be dumped on society

NuckingFuts's picture

It's just North Korean labor camps with a different spin. But we are better some how.

Look up N.K. Prisoners working in Russia harvesting timber. All proceeds go back to N.K. No kidding, google it. Coming to' 'Merica soon.

Don't criticize dear leader or off to forced labor you go.

Jeff the Terrible's picture
Jeff the Terrible (not verified) lordbyroniv Dec 30, 2014 9:38 PM

The wall st funded jail market crash when drugs are legalized

 

http://y2u.be/VI6tBwVjyOY

Larry Dallas's picture

Some would say its the inevitable progression of those babies who jumped the queue at the inner city Planned Parenthoods and the statistics were not in their favor.

kowalli's picture

yes, so fucking true, but americans can't understand that even if they saw a movie

nmewn's picture

I do love it so when foreigners cast stones from glass houses ;-)

Moscow:  Several thousand people rallied near Red Square today to protest the conviction of the top Kremlin critic and his brother, in one of the boldest opposition demonstrations in Russia in years.

The unsanctioned protest came hours after Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner and chief foe of President Vladimir Putin, was found guilty of fraud and given a suspended sentence of three and half years. His brother was sent to prison.

The convictions are widely seen as a political vendetta for Navalny's role as a leading opposition figure."

http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/thousands-protest-near-red-square-over-conviction-of-top-kremlin-critic-642027

Well, lets unpack this.

In Russia "protests" have to be sanctioned...by whom, the state? And why oh ever why would an "anti-corruption campaigner" be found guilty of fraud and given a suspended sentence?

Time to crack some heads Yuri?...lol.

kowalli's picture

I will tell you.

We have a sanctionated demonstrations, so if you want to tell something to our government you need to booked place and time, so you don't messed up all city communications. It's like a parking place. It's pretty simple procedure.

Second there was 200 people for Navalny, 200 against him and 100 cops, it was a really small number of people

Third Navalny was guilty "Moscow Court today delivered its verdict Alexei Navalny - 3.5 years with a probation period. His brother Oleg was 3.5 years a penal colony and was taken into custody in the courtroom. In addition, the Court sought to Navalny more than 4 million rubles under the claim of the victim and ordered both a fine of 500 thousand  Rubles"

I don't know details of a crime and his role in them, so i can't say anything about verdict

Forth He is not an "anti-corruption campaigner" - he is a fucking usa puppet. USA using him to make a tv show for dumb western public.

he is like a Dalai Lama from CHina- the same usa puppet. It is so fucking obvious

BTW most of this protectors came from Ukraine, they were using ukraine words, technic and many other things

 

Jack Burton's picture

I don't know details of a crime and his role in them, so i can't say anything about verdict

Nor can I, BUT, the charges were filed by the Non-Russian French company these two defrauded of a very large sum of money by cheating on a contract and agreed upon charges. So Putin did not file charges, a French company did. The second time these two brothers have been taken to trial for fraud.

nmewn's picture

What French company?

////

Well? ;-)

kowalli's picture

The main accused of the criminal case has once again become the company GPA, which, according to investigators, is controlled by brothers Navalny and through which they had previously stolen about 55 million rubles from cosmetic french corporation "LLC" Yves Rocher East. "


nmewn's picture

"An Yves Rocher executive submitted a complaint to investigators, but its representatives insisted throughout the trial that there was never any damage. Also, the French executive who wrote the complaint left Russia shortly afterward and never attended the hearings."

http://hosted2.ap.org/CABAR/APWorldNews/Article_2014-12-30-EU-Russia-Opposition/id-90cd6c6020a54c7a93fa9f306195c636

So lemme see if I have this straight.

The company's representatives say it was not damaged...yet the Russian court system insists they were (apparently Yves Rocher is too stupid to know if it was or not)...and the Yves Rocher executive who filed the complaint against Navalny left Russia shortly after filing it and never returned for the trial to be cross examined by Navalny's lawyer.

That about sum it up?

Yes, no doubt about it, moar USA puppetry ;-)

vened's picture
Alexei Navalny, Yale World Fellow and co-founder of US National Endowment for Democracy Da! or "Democratic Alternative/Yes in Russian." It is yet another Otpor-esque organization courtesy of the United States government and willful traitors to their motherland.

We'll keep hearing the name Alexey Navalny until the fact that he is fully subsidized by the US State Department through the National Endowment of Democracy is widely exposed, and like Egypt's Mohamed ElBaradei, cast aside as extra-baggage.
Read more at http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=ff5_1419989632#GUmmbYY2s3QsVUwD.99
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=ff5_1419989632

nmewn's picture

"We have a sanctionated demonstrations,..."

Indeed, I know you do.

"...so if you want to tell something to our government you need to booked place and time, so you don't messed up all city communications. It's like a parking place. It's pretty simple procedure."

And if they say no?

"Second there was 200 people for Navalny, 200 against him and 100 cops, it was a really small number of people"

Sounds like complete equality & spontaneity...lol.

"Third Navalny was guilty "Moscow Court today delivered its verdict Alexei Navalny - 3.5 years with a probation period. His brother Oleg was 3.5 years a penal colony and was taken into custody in the courtroom."

Do tell, hard labor in service for the state? Any chance for appeal as he slaves away?

"Forth He is not an "anti-corruption campaigner" - he is a fucking usa puppet. USA using him to make a tv show for dumb western public."

Seems there is a lot of eastern people saying everything is a USA puppet or conspiracy meant for the dumb western public these days. Must be nice to have such unity of opinion, what of the minority opinion? ;-)

//////

Wait a minute that just sank in, did you say "penal colony"?

Where?

kowalli's picture

-And if they say no? - you need to take another date, because for this date there is some major event.

-Sounds like complete equality & spontaneity...lol. - sorry i don't have time to count them... mb 195-242-104 - do you like it better?

-Any chance for appeal as he slaves away? -yes

-95%  of Russia want a life sentense for Navalny and we are very dissapointed. 

http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/1580/5035/original.jpg?...

translated one of this protesters words...

"I am no longer go out. While everyone -  who bought gifts at Tverskaya, until everyone who walked past us and neighing loudly, until the money will end, until they lose their jobs and begin to fly into a rage,  then I go out and look at them from the side. Alex, Oleg I feel for you  very painful. I honestly tried very hard, but   we can not win these people. It serves them right ... it's time to leave."


 

nmewn's picture

"And if they say no? - you need to take another date, because for this date there is some major event."

So when its convenient for the state. Well, that works out pretty good for the state and whoever is running it.

"-95%  of Russia want a life sentense for Navalny and we are very dissapointed."

A life sentence for fraud? What do you guys want to do with muggers & pimps?

Well at least the jury pool is completely untainted & unbiased, thats certainly reassuring to a defendant ;-)

kowalli's picture

"Well, that works out pretty good for the state and whoever is running it."

it means that bunch of retard don't distrupe a 10000 thousends consert or holydays event or etc and working people don't lose money because of retards.

"A life sentence for fraud" he is usa puppet and it is mean treason

you are really stupid...

nmewn's picture

Yes, of course I'm stoopid kowalli.

In essence your position is "Russia-good. US-bad. Anyone against Putin the Great is traitor."

Yeah, I get all that and your defense of anything the Russian government & its oligarchs do. Good luck with all that, we have similar problems like that here.

I just look at it differently than you do.

Ghordius's picture

"Our Country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but right or wrong, our country!"

                                Originally Stephen Decatur, in an after-dinner toast of 1816–1820. cheers, nmewn

nmewn's picture

lol...patriotism can be a very dangerous thing ;-)

Ghordius's picture

kowalli, re "he is usa puppet and it is mean treason"

now I have to admit I know the old Soviet law better then the modern Russian law, but are you sure that being a political agent or agitator is a crime, in Russia? or, worse, treason?

there is a very fine line between loyal opposition and treason. but it's an important fine line

tplink's picture
tplink (not verified) lordbyroniv Dec 31, 2014 1:19 AM

my roomate's half-sister makes $65 /hr on the computer . She has been without work for 7 months but last month her pay check was $14940 just working on the computer for a few hours. you could try this out... www.works3.com

Bollixed's picture

That spam site loads viruses on your computer.

lordbyroniv's picture

May the odds be in your favor

 

Peter Pan's picture

People might not realize it but there are a great many prisons operating in the USA beyond the ones described in this article.

The prison of house, education, car or credit card debt.

The prison of making $8 an hour with the full collaboration of government and corporations.

The prison of a two party (but one master) political system.

The prison of a tax system that allows Warren Buffet to pay less tax in percentage terms than his secretary.

The prison of government which grows and grows in response to people shrinking and shirking their personal and civil responsibilities.

weburke's picture

The prison of the medical treatment being a barrier of 6000 for payments and 6000 for your medical copay first.  

The prison of much of the food being poisonous over time.

bytebank's picture

If you want renounce your US citizenship you no need to pay about $2,500.
The U.S. is already a first stage prison. You can't check out unless you pay and you cannot have any debts. That eliminates the vast majority.

SickDollar's picture

Prison is a big Private  business , definitely not in the rehab business

Ignatius's picture

Perverse incentives tend to yield perverse results.

NidStyles's picture

Corporations are not privately held institutions. That means they are not in the private sector.

Ghordius's picture

NidStyles, I sense Cognitive Dissonance in your comment (not the ZH poster)

following your logic, you'd have to say that all public companies (i.e. with their stocks/bonds traded on exchanges) aren't private, and only fully private SMEs are

following your logic, we in europe that fight for SMEs like yours truly should be your allies, and you should cheer that we have somehow managed to keep both state and financial markets off the back of what is here an astounding 50% of the economy (officially, then the submerged part is not counted properly)

and yet... you raise the yellow/black banner

which makes me suspicious, then that banner is often associated with anarcho-capitalism of the "whatever goes" kind which more often then not favours Big Biz and their legions of lobbyists

excess of freedom favours Big Biz. dearth of sensible, smart regulation favours Big Biz

Small and Medium Sized Businesses need a structured, properly regulated economic environment. One that is not too strongly highjacked by Big Biz for their purposes

SMEs need the state... to protect them from Big Biz, oligopolies, monopolies and crony capitalism. the less state you have to redress the fair ground level, the more you have Big Biz and crony capitalism with it's oligopolies and monopolies

TeamDepends's picture

Lest your heart be turned to bleeding, remember many of these remorseless scofflaws are guilty of milking the dreaded cannibus plant and should be shown no mercy.

Ignatius's picture

Right, forgot about that.

A Lunatic's picture

And don't forget about the terrors inflicted upon society caused by those criminals selling raw milk.......

RafterManFMJ's picture

I bought some loose cigarettes off a dusky entrepreneur, and I don't even smoke! FIGHT THE POWER!!

Meat Hammer's picture

Some of them caught water that fell from the sky instead of letting it run off of their property to a reservoir to be sold back to them with taxes added on.

I say a month in the hole for that one.