Open Thread

What He Said

Artist - Tim Eagan

In other news, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit yesterday against the city of Meridian, Lauderdale County, two juvenile court judges, and the state of Mississippi for its "school-to-prison pipeline" that has been imprisoning children for minor classroom offenses.

  • Brutlyhonest

    I hadn’t heard about this, but when I just read it it reaffirmed what I’ve told people for years: “I lived in some real shit-holes during my Navy career, but the absolute worst was Meridian, MS.”

  • nicole

    “its “school-to-prison pipeline” that has been imprisoning children for minor classroom offenses”

    And we call ourselves a “modern” and “civilized” society.

  • IrishGrrrl

    This Miss case reminds me of the Scranton, PA “Kids for Cash” case. Privatizing corrections, particularly for juveniles is a very bad idea. The. Profit motive always turns corrections into a numbers game. The more bodies you have in jail the more money you make. Government on the other hand doesn’t worry about profit so the fewer people in Prison the better for us. Of course the rest of the CJ system just keeps sending them people regardless. Since we have one of the highest, if not the highest, incarceration rate in the world you would think there is already more than enough bodies for private prisons to make money–why funnel more illegally? But with greed, there is never enough.

    • D_C_Wilson

      Amazingly, as huge a scandal as Kids for Cash was, it’s done very little to curb the enthusiasm among elected officials for privatizing prisons. Since bribing judges to pack juvenile detention centers didn’t shift the tide, I wonder what will?

      I guess we’ll have to wait until someone rich and powerful is inconvenienced by the private prison industry. Maybe next time Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan end up in front of a judge.

      • IrishGrrrl

        My first thought was, “maybe when somebody dies” but in Kids for Cash at least one teenager killed himself as a result of his incarceration (his mother was key to getting the Prosecutors to pay attention to the case). So not even the loss of a life will dissuade politicians from grabbing onto privatization of prisons.

        See the privatization process has been quietly going on for decades now. Back in 1992-3 when I was a Probation Officer in FL, I met and went to work for a small software company. The board members/investors of that company were some of the founders of CCA, Corrections Corporation of America. They and other companies like them have been sinking their claws deep into the CJ system. It is one of the largest governmental “systems” in existence and as citizens pay so little attention to it. We dump billions of taxpayer money into incarceration but we keep really shitty tabs on it. And we let it’s problems, which to be honest are intimidatingly hard to solve, fester.

        As voters we love bumper sticker answers in regards to crime, but they don’t work in the real world, of course. Like the 3 strikes laws…so good on paper, so stupid in reality. I’ve taught CJ courses on corrections for many, many years and the level of ignorance of the students who major in CJ is astounding, so the ignorance of the average American on the subject has to be shocking. I guess what I’m saying in a long winded kind of way is that mass exposure of privatization and the corruption along with information on the crisis of corrections in this country is what’s needed. Unfortunately, these issues are always far down on the list, particularly in bad economic times such as these. No one pays attention to jails and prisons until they or someone they love gets put into one. Then it hits them just how effed up they are.