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TOTD 12 Jul 2001

...after the end of the Cold War, the military-industrial complex has given way to a prison-industrial complex. Like military bases, prisons provide jobs while simultaneously providing a sense of security--in their case not from communists but from criminals. In every prison town I visited, people were eager to talk to me about crime--about how bad it was, about how something needed to be done.

-Joseph T. Hallinan, author of Going Up the River: Travels in a Prison Nation

How did a nation dedicated to the principle of freedom become the world's leading jailer? The answer has little to do with crime, but much to do with the perception of crime, and how that perception has been manipulated for political gain and financial profit. From state legislatures to the White House, politicians have increasingly turned to tough-on-crime policies as guaranteed vote-getters. That trend has been encouraged by the media, which use the public's fearful fascination with crime to boost ratings, and by private-prison companies, guards' unions, and other interests whose business depends on mass-scale incarceration.

-Vince Beiser

Thanks to Michael Parker for the link which led me the Vince Beiser article, "HOW WE GOT TO TWO MILLION: How did the Land of the Free become the world's leading jailer?"

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
venusflytrap
Jul. 12th, 2001 11:52 am (UTC)
I have to disagree with the beginning of the quote: 'nation dedicated to the principle of freedom'. Assuming we are speaking of US of A, it has to be remembered that the Founding Fathers were rich slave owners who created a democracy where the women were granted the right to vote after much struggle. Lets not even go into the topic of racism. The racism here is second only to the racism found across the pond. The 'freedom' that is perceived is a happy side effect. The real freedom is economic freedom. The land of the free can be traslated and rightly so as the land where anyone has the oppurtunity become rich.
This is the situation. We are not a limited democracy...which is compatible with capitalism and freedom. True capitalism cannot support absolute democracy because the principles of capitalism is bound by the recognition of individual rights. With democracy, individual rights can be preserved or voted off depending on the results of an election. In an absolute democracy, the majority is the king...not the individual. Are we an absolute democracy or a limited democracy?

Maybe the principles of capitalism should be strengethened in the United States of America.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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