Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Scariest Thing of All: Lobbyists for Prison Owners

Paul Krugman gets it right:
Just a small note about today’s column: doing the research, I found myself feeling as if I had turned over a rock and found a lot of creepy-crawly things underneath. This is really upsetting stuff.

Look, in particular, at the semi-secret history of the Arizona immigration law. A legislator goes into a closed-door meeting with corporations, including a big operator of private prisons, and soon afterwards submits legislation that … sends lots of people to those private prisons.

If you read the corrections to that report, you see that ALEC and/or its clients went over the piece with a fine-toothed comb to find anything that they could attack; sure, you can’t prove that Corrections Corporation of America inspired the law, or that ALEC lobbied for it. Hey, it could all be a coincidence.

But this is really, really creepy — and scary.


  1. But Krugman unsurprisingly doesn't find fault with Big Government that enables this unholy union of big business and state.

  2. krug also pines for a new hitler to come along so that a giant war can stimulate the economy. that's as creepy as any prison lobbyist

  3. No matter how you slice it there will always be a profit incentive behind keeping and growing prison populations. Even the government is in it for the money via the public sector unions. The best example of this was when California tried to legalize marijuana and the groups that came out against it, and were on the side of the drug lords, were the unions representing prison guards, public prison workers and police officers. These unions are driven by the same self interest profit motivated goal as the prison corps. Neither the prison corps or prison labor unions want to see prison populations diminished.

  4. Really? Krugman is just finding this out?

    I did a lit review my sophomore year in college on a question I wanted to know: "Why does the US have the largest prison population in the world, both in absolute value and in percentage of total population?"

    The results are disgusting, and this is where my libertarian views are somewhat challenged, albeit not very much when you pull back the curtain.

    Reagan's privatization (or corporatization) of all things government in the 80's turned the building of prisons over from state administrators to private corporations. These private corporations, in conjunction with the many other industries that would earn a lot from a prison being built (telephones [prisoners can only make collect calls], garbage disposal, construction, catering, janitorial works, prison guards, arms manufacturers...etc etc). The penal code is expanded like mad.

    Any coincidence this happened at the same time Reagan declared a war on drugs, increasing black and latino imprisonment to mind-boggling levels disporportionate to the white imprisonment?

    Yep, pure coincidence indeed.

    1. I agree Ben, this is stuff that people who are shouted down as "conspiracy theorist" have been talking about for two decades. Fareed Zakaria also came out with a similar article after the Pat Robertson comment...all these people have supported the drug war political establishment for the last decade at least...now they wake up? doubtful....smells to me like they know the movement is growing and that they wil now try to get out in front...probably recomend huge new federally funded treatment programs and filling the empty prison spots with the new boogeymen "Internet criminals".