Friday, September 26, 2008
Prison Nation is a sort of literary anthology, covering similar themes to what is seen in The Perpetual Prisoner Machine. In a series of short essays, writers such as George Winslow, Noam Chomsky, Alex Friedman and Mumia Abu-Jamal explore the prison-industrial complex, expose the abuses regularly occuring in prisons, and take on the idea that "corrections" as they stand are actually correcting much of anything.
P 23 - "The government's resources and power so dramatically outweigh those of the accused that prosecutors, rather than scrutinizing their own behavior to guard against abuses of power, habitually focus only on their win-loss record and its political consequences."
P 58 - "The so-called drug war started in the 1980s and it was aimed directly at the black population. None of this has anything to do with drugs. It has to do with controlling and criminalizing dangerous populations ... Poor black males are criminalized the most by the drug war ... What about the population that is declining in earnings and jobs? They're frightened. The more you can increase the fear of drugs and crime and welfare mothers and immigrants and aliens and poverty and all sorts of things, the more you control people. Make them hate each other. Be frightened of each other and think that the other is stealing from them. If you do that then you control people. And that's just what the drug war does."
P 121 - "For all these employers (TWA, AT&T, Starbucks, Honda, Microsoft and Toys 'R Us), what's so attractive about using prison labor is precisely that it undoes everything that union members - and their parents and grandparents before them - have fought so hard to achieve."
P 137 - "Whether private versus public prisons are 'better' is largely immaterial and irrelevant. It is like comparing rotten oranges to rotten apples from the prisoner's perspective. But, at least in public prisons, when prisoners are raped due to inadequate staffing, transport vans burst into flames killing the occupants due to poor maintenance, or prisoners are held past their release dates, no one can say prison officials did so to line their own pockets and personally profit from the misery of others. With private prisons, most shortcomings can be traced to a conscious decision to enhance the company's bottom line. After all, the purpose of private prison companies is to make money for their owners, and not to promote public safety, rehabilitate prisoners, protect the public, or ensure a safe working environment for their staff or the safekeeping of their charges. If that happens it is a mere by-product of the goal of making money."