Prisons, Profits and Immigrants

by douglas reeser on 5.11.11

We've written on and shared information on the prison system in the US a few times over the years (for instance, check out "School to Prison Pipeline" by Lana Lynne from March of this year). As the industry continues a move toward privatization and a corporate model, generating profit becomes a primary goal. This video from Cuentame, a Latino activist website, begins to explain how the prison industry aims to increase its profits through the imprisonment of immigrants. Through massive lobbying efforts in Washington and state capitals around the country, lobbyists are pressuring legislators to craft and pass anti-immigrant bills similar to the infamous Arizona SB1070. By passing laws that make it easy to arrest and detain immigrants - whether they are in the US legally or not - there is a resulting increase in prison populations. Private prisons are then payed by the state to house the new prisoners. Sounds simple, but is it acceptable? Do we want to live in a country in which private business is profiting - to the tune of billions of dollars per year - on the arbitrary detention of human beings?

The video from Cuentame, titled "Immigrants for Sale" raises more questions than it answers, but it provides a good starting point for discussion on the topic, and for further investigation.

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