The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. How did it get there? By targeting communities of color, tapping into the for-profit private prison industry, and maintaining harsh sentencing laws and prison conditions. Agnes Chen highlights some of these issues in her latest Mennonite World Review article:
The prison industrial complex also thrives on the capitalist structure of our society. In order to maximize profits, unnecessary prisons are built. Several small towns in Illinois built prisons to generate employment and income as other industries have declined. Recently, the Bureau of Prisons dedicated $54 million to reopen a 1,600-bed prison as a “supermax” facility in Thomson, Ill., even as the population at the only other supermax facility, in Florence, Colo., has declined in recent years.
Compared to the attention given to the brutality of wars, the violence in prisons and detention centers against inmates often goes unheard. Supermax prison facilities such as the one proposed in Thomson have imposed the most extreme level of solitary confinement on inmates, where individuals endure 23-hour isolation periods each day. Call 1-888-592-2907 and leave a message for Attorney General Eric Holder urging him not to activate the Thomson federal prison as a supermax facility and to end the use of solitary confinement in the federal prison system.
Learn how the U.S. prison system has come so large and profit-driven here.