Ihumane Treatment of Prisoners in Prison Facilities
Generally, a lot of countries set up prisons to allow criminals to rehabilitate themselves. Prisons seem like simple facilities because a common understanding among people, the prisons exist to accommodate criminals for security. However, in the United States, prisons became remarkable facilities for companies because of the significant population of convicts. Companies have associated with prisons to make convicts work for low wages.
Consequently, the companies can profit more than hiring general people, but prisoners have been treated like a labor force in the prisons, and its system formed industries which likely contribute to the economy of the United States as well. In addition, this system is called the Prison Industrial Complex which is a social problem in the United States. In fact, today, the growth of prisons are braking due to the fiscal difficulty of the United States.The Prison Industrial Complex is a technical term, which means that organizations such as guard unions, building constructors, and some security makers are engage in businesses about prisons. In addition, convicts have been used as labor forces to help companies to make a profit effectively. (Hotta.2014) The small governments under the Neoliberalism, in the federal and local government’s budget were reduced. According to the graph 1, the budget for police, corrections, and judicial have been increased. Consequently, those an enormous of budgets profit a lot of people. As the significant population of convicts, a large amount of budgets were put into the construction of prisons and management for it. By the invitation of prisons, opportunities to redevelop in the underpopulated area, employments to the unemployed, and constructions, goods, and demands for services, or profit from the management of private prisons are provided.
In 1980s, private companies were allowed to hire convicts inside the prisons. Convicts didn’t need to pay for health insurance, unemployment insurance, and accident insurance. Moreover, companies didn’t need to let convicts join unions. In other words, they had to work without insurance, and it was very helpful for companies because they didn’t need to consider compensating for declines in the workforce by vacations or strikes from them. In addition, no one be late to the work and interrupts their tasks. It was the honestly suitable terms of employment for companies in order to make a huge profit. The privatization of the prisons started at that same time, and multinational corporations have entered into the private prisons. In fact, the complex of concession such as companies, politicians, media, and guard unions have played role in promotion of the growth of prison population. Those organizations would rather interest in maintenance of convicts, expansion of employments, profits, allotments.
In the United States, after 1970, prison populations have increased in a geometric series. According to the graph 2, by 2006, the number of prisons reached about 8 times from in the beginning. The main reason of rapid increase of the prison population was due to the policy which is called the War on Drugs. What is the War on Drugs that it was a series of the movement toward prohibition of trades in illegal drugs such as marijuana, heroin, and cocaine.(The Prison Industrial Complex and the Global Economy. 2009) It’s well known that the term was first declared by president, Richard Nixon on June 17, 1971. In addition, he described “illegal drugs as public enemy number one in the United States” and it’s still evolving today. According to the War on Drugs, not only people who like a dropout from society due to neoliberalism, especially, non-white person has been captured but also residents who are living in poor area get threats to make them control. (The growth of incarceration in the United States. 2014 ) The poor area of each center of the city, there are usually gang’s networks which trade in drugs. The people who live in those dominant areas tend to be gotten a tighten control from police due to the racial prejudice which is called racial profiling. (Masked racism: reflections on the prison industrial complex. 2017) Consequently, they have arrested or imprisoned even though that’s an imbalanced for them as well. In worse cases, they have scheduled long prison terms.
In history, African Americans were released by the Emancipation Proclamation. After the Civil War, the new law was established to decide the black people’s social status which was called Black Code. (Black code, 2017) Black people seemed to be free, but they were still regulated in their rights. In addition, governments came up with another way to let African American back to work. The federal government abrogated the Black Code during the period of reconstruction because they realized that if the black people who commit a crime, they would not be required their rights. Then in the Southern states of America, state governments started leasing prisoners, which was called Convict Leasing.
What the Convict Leasing is that states lent convicts to business owners on the condition that they pay for rental fee to the states. The reason that the Southern state governments started this system is because business owners such as farmers and businessmen wanted to recover the lack of free labors with low costs. Once this system was developed, demand for convict lessees rapidly exceeded the supply for convicts. In order to fill the demand for convicts, courts sentenced inappropriate prison terms to African Americans who were arrested even minor offences, such as vagrancy or walking alongside railroad tracks.(What is the convict leasing?) The working pattern of convict lessees were like those of slavery, but the state played a negligent role in ensuring that convicts were treated appropriately and a lot of African Americans died because of inhumane working and health conditions. This system was very beneficial for the government and businesses because the government could escape most of the costs of sustaining a prisoner and the business also could employ labor at low costs. In other words, convict leasing was replacement for slavery. As a replacement for the convict leasing system, the chain gang system appeared, which was under the direct control of the government.
In the end of 19th century to 20th century, the convict leasing system was abolished, but it’s not because of modification of humanitarian reform. The details are as follows: First, convicts were leased for long periods of employment, and this system was lacking in flexibility during economic fluctuation because employers could not fire the convicts, unlike regular employees, and it made employers feel that the convict leasing sometimes turn out to be a burden. Second, there was end in sight to the fad of railroad construction at that time, and after the turning point of the century, the construction of roads for the traffic of automobile was prioritized. However, the governments couldn’t lease convicts to the employers anymore because the governments put on quantity of convicts into the policy which was an improvement of the roads the government was carrying out at that time. Third, white workers complained the thing that the convict leasing made white workers compete with African American convicts.
Furthermore, in private companies, convicts frequently escaped or resisted working and it led to disputes (Uesugi. 2011)In conclusion, there are still slavery by making convicts work. The state governments need to prohibit from adhering cozy relationship with prison so that the prisons will be guaranteed not to be labors because prisoners are supposed to be a place: makes prisoners rehabilitate themselves. Otherwise, the prisoners will have treated as inhumane treatments from the companies.
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