Since the start to the War on Drugs, there has been an epidemic in our county of mass incarceration. Although it's awareness is on the rise, many of us do not know of the issue. One in every 35 Americans is in prison, which accounts for about 3% of the adult population. Doesn't seem like much, does it? Well, what if I told you that 2.2 million Americans are involved in the Corrections system. How about if I told you that America alone, holds about 25% of the world's incarcerated population. We make up less than 5% of the world and yet we incarcerate a quarter of it.
So the question is, why? Why is America's Incarceration rate so high, and increasing? One of the main reasons is that America's Correctional system does not do any correcting. Most days, prisoners are released from prison with only the clothes they came in with. We rarely rehabilitate and socialize offenders. Of course, a punishment is a punishment, but for those that are going to be released back into society, they cannot be made to fail. Prisoners are isolated from society for however long their sentence is, they are in a criminal environment with other criminals. When we throw them back into society and tell them to sink or swim, they mostly sink. The Bureau of Justice Statistics released that in between 65-80 percent of offenders will be rearrested within 2-5 years. WOW. Yes, many of you want to say, "well they are criminals" and yes they are, but the point is, we are not helping them, we are temporarily hiding them for the public and throwing them back out without instilling any change.
So now the question is, why doesn't America want to reform the system? Why don't they want to rehabilitate offenders and make citizens out of them? this answer might shock you, but incarceration is a business, and as you may know, America is all about the money. Most things that we naturally assume are made in China or some other distant country before checking may be made right here on our home soil. This includes some of your clothes, meat, other foods and your license plate. No, they are not made in factories but rather prisons and if I can pay someone 20 cents to make my products instead of $9.00, you can bet who I want to hire. So how does this relate to mass incarceration? Well, just stay with more for a moment longer.
The American Legislation Exchange Council, also known as ALEC plays a huge role. ALEC is a prison industry act liaison. The council is buy in, made of legislatures and cooperate lobbyist. Lawmakers are the face of the council and have memberships based on creating and drafting bills. The cooperate companies also have membership, they also are able to place a vote for laws. So Wal-Mart gets a say in our laws, even though ALEC says they don't. Perhaps they technically don't, on paper, but enough donations can sway a vote. These cooperation's fund almost all of ALEC's operations.
So no one knows that cooperation's who want to maintain or increase their access to cheap labor are crafting and selling these potential laws and when they get to the public eye officials and legislatures are backing them so much you can't even see the right picture. 20% of all ALEC bills are passed.
Let me sum this up for you, numerous cooperations have paid off a council of legislatures In order to influence their vote and support towards strict sentencing bills. They imposed the three-strike law, immigrant laws and enacted a legal minimum for sentencing on NON-VIOLENT drug offenses. They do this because the private cooperations are able to benefit off of the country's massive prison population through almost free labor. Prison inmates act like factory workers for theses companies at about 20 cents an hour. Why would you push to rehabilitate offenders, and reform the system when ALEC is paying you a pretty penny to keep the system just as corrupt as it already is?