Interesting facts about American prisons

Currently in the United States behind bars are 2.2 million people, representing 25% of the total number of prisoners in the world - a bit much for the country, which accounts for only 5% of the world population. Since the 1980s. the crime rate in the US has tripled. Why is the prison became so popular punishment in the US prison system?

If the number of prisoners is strictly determined by the number of court verdicts, the figure in America today would have been much lower than in some European countries. However, largely due to the laws of the appointment of certain penalties - such as mandatory minimum sentence and the "law of the three crimes" - the prison system of the United States is the most standardized, objective and demanding in the world. After the adoption of the "law of the three crimes," the number of life sentences in the US grew in 10 years by as much as 83%, although the level of violent crime actually decreased significantly. In this regard, the question arises: why the prison system ignores this statistic? The answer you will find in this article, which sets out the dire reality of American prisons ...

Huge profits

The profit of the two largest private prison companies in America - Corrections Corporation of America (CCA - The American corporation correctional facilities) and GEO Group, Inc. - At the end of fiscal 2012 was $ 3.3 billion. They are available with 67 and 95 respectively penitentiary, control 75% of the market of private prison industry in the United States. The income of a single CCA since the early 90s. The twentieth century has grown by more than 500%.

Why the growing privatization becomes an integral feature of the American penal system? Many people are opposed to the privatization of everything that has to do with the social sphere; but the prison usually is not seen as a profitable venture, but as one of those necessary evils, which allows the government to lead the country. However, for those who believe that the privatization of prisons is a positive development, it is advisable to pay attention to the report of news agency Bloomberg, made in 2013. It states that the level of violence in private prisons is three times higher than in the state. And here's another "naked" fact: most of the prisoners of Louisiana - the prison capital of the world - is in private prisons.

But even more disturbing is the fact that the privatization of prisons has a strong influence on the country's politics ...

Prison quota

It is known that private prison companies make deals with the governors of the states about ensuring a minimum population density of their institutions. Cooperation scheme is as follows: the heads of the prison companies meet with state governors and offer to sell them in prison under state ownership. Privatization is a tempting idea for the state government, as it allows to significantly reduce costs; Of course, instead of the company put forward a number of additional conditions that guarantee them huge profits. So, in 2012, the company CCA into an agreement with 48 American states included the item on ensuring its filling penitentiaries 90%. This means that even if the crime rate decrease, the state will still be required to fill the prison to capacity.

Virginia concluded with private prison companies one contract with a condition of filling the security penitentiary 95%; Oklahoma - three contracts by 98%; Arizona - the same three contracts, but 100%. Perform "regulations" to the states to help certain legislation such as the "law of three crimes" and "fair punishment" (the introduction of rules which exclude the possibility of parole).

Hence, guess: who will have to pay if the state government suddenly be unable to fulfill its part of the bargain?

Taxpayers' money

Over the past decade the level of crime in Colorado fell by one third, followed by several times and reduced occupancy of some state prisons. However, because of contractual obligations to private companies in the past year, the state government has sent to prison belonging CCA, 3000 novoosuzhdennyh, leaving empty their own bed; at the same honest taxpayers to continue, and continue to allocate money for the maintenance of "underutilized" state prisons. Experts estimate that in 2013 the state, providing occupancy of private penitentiary, wasted more than $ 2 billion of taxes.

However, it is not only private companies. Data show that in 2012 New York City for the maintenance of one prisoner has spent $ 168,000, of which about a third were tax revenues. This amount is almost four times the average annual wage in the United States. If you count all the costs, it turns out that the federal government spends $ 55 billion on the maintenance of all the prisoners of the country - almost as many as there are for education.

Perhaps this is not surprising and, given the fact that due to the mandatory punishment appeared a record number of life sentences, and thus increased the number of older prisoners, the maintenance of which is spent twice as much money than common criminals. According to the report of the American Civil Liberties Union in 2012, the number of elderly people in the prisons of the 1980s. It increased by 1300% absurd. So we gradually come to the next point ...


In 2008, 33 prisons in the state of California, which was the total capacity of 100,000 people, there were about 170,000 prisoners. Overcrowding is a perennial problem for the whole country, the government is inclined to face it most improvised and unexpected ways: for example, as in the photo above (California State Prison, which is located within the walls of the former gym).

In 2009, the Court, citing the Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution, the government ordered the State of California to release about 30% of the prisoners, since it has been proved that it was the main reason for overcrowding is the increased level of violence in prisons. This problem was solved at the level of a single state, but across the country. Currently, the federal prisons for nonviolent crimes, drug-related, serving time for half of all American prisoners, and many of them have to share a cell with convicted for committing a violent crime. And most importantly ...

Cheap labor

Beginning in the 1980s. 20th century, both private and state prisons are engaged in the provision of labor among those convicted for the world's largest companies, such as Starbucks, Costco, Microsoft Corporation, Victoria's Secret, and others.

Prison labor is a very tempting offer for large US corporations, including Boeing, Wal-Mart and Mcdonald's. The reason is obvious: companies benefit from paying a certain percentage of the minimum wage, because, in fact, a factory production. According to the International Labour Organization, the last ten years, earnings of those who are serving time in prison, is only 23 cents per hour. Sometimes representatives of the companies agree with prisons that the prisoners do not pay wages, allowing them to simply fulfill the term of their sentence.

Taken individually, gratuitous or underpaid work may not be the worst thing for, say, a "professional criminal". But add to her savings and lack of adequate control, and except as hell can not call it. In 2012, the supplier of Walmart came under fire by critics for what provided the convicts for their hard physical labor, insufficient food (little water, no sunscreen, etc.). In 2011, the old leadership of the California air base was accused that it made dismantle the remains of prisoners participating in the battles of tanks and military vehicles, containing uranium and cadmium. Also recently we learned that in Florida, convicted women were forced to perform recycling of computer equipment without protective equipment. This list is far from ending.

Many of you will agree that there is nothing wrong with that prisoners worked, but allows the company to profit from the exploitation of their work - this is too much.


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