Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Jungle

Lakeland Correctional Facility, better known as the Penitentiary, is a place for imprisonment and punishment. It is the Jungle, a wild, ruthless place, something that baffles the mind or perplexes, a maze. A struggle for survival, very violent, in the Jungle--man made!

Those who do benefit from rural prison sitings are the political backers and bankers who funnel funds to prisons, the companies that hawk their wares to prisoncrats, and a handful of lucky locals in prison host communities who scavenge for the leftovers.

Backdoor prison financing through state bonds shows that states are tethering themselves to privatized prison companies by providing taxpayer funded bonds to the industry to build and maintain prisons. To ensure payment on the bonds, prison beds must be filled to capacity. The  major problem is, it does not matter if the person is innocent, creating a troubling relationship between state power, criminal justice, and the people of the state.

There are political and financial impacts of census figures that count prisoners as residents of the communities in which they serve their time, rather than their communities of origin. The counting of prisoners as residents of the prison towns in which they are incarcerated benefits politicians in the area, where prisons enlarge their district with nonvoting members. It is a jungle outside the prison and the real jungle which was made by the politicians is inside the fence of the prison.

Although there is an expanding body of writing and analysis regarding the harms caused by mass incarceration in America, there is little discussion about the increasing number of entities that profit from and subsequently engender the growth of prisons. The prison system is pimping the poor and the taxpayers, who the media keep in fear. We the people must change our thinking and fight back. There will be no change unless the people, of all colors, stand together.

-Rev. Pinkney