First, the Weak. Eventually, You and Me

“The bodies of the poor, when they are not captive, are worth little to corporations. But bodies behind bars can each generate $40,000 to $50,000 a year for corporate coffers.”

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  • Andy, Bad Person

    Hmm. Is that the same Aramark that provided food for my college dining hall?

    • Stu

      So how is “prison food”?


      • Andy, Bad Person

        Actually, the food at my school was remarkably good. I can’t imagine that they put nearly as much effort / standards into what the prison division serves.

        • Lee Penn

          As part of its prison operation, Aramark makes and sells “disciplinary loaf,” a mixture that is designed to be tasteless and to meet nutritional requirements.

          See this article …

          It seems that Aramark is working at making bad stuff for part of the prison population. It’s the 21st century version of bread and water for those in solitary.


          • guest

            “Inmates who are injuring people in jail will get their nutritional needs met, but we will not cater to their culinary desires.”

            It’s not standard jail fare and they’re not serving it to all inmates.

  • quasimodo

    If I read it right, the article seems to equate “poor” and “criminal.” Seems bigoted to me.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      The poor are far disproportionately imprisoned compared to the wealthy. Some of that is circumstantial, but some of it is because the rich simply don’t go to jail.

      • Mark S. (not for Shea)

        Yep. Prisons are full of the poor. Despite almost crashing the world economy over the past 10 years, how many bankers and Wall Street Executives are in jail?

      • Marthe Lépine

        One reason might be that the rich can pay for good lawyers…

      • guest

        And guess who are overwhelmingly the victims of violent crime? The poor.
        The single mom whose apartment in the housing project was broken into and who was gang raped by 4 teenagers and who wouldn’t make a sound because her 18 month old was asleep in another room and she was scared to wake him because he might start crying and she was afraid of what they’d do to her baby. The Vietnamese immigrant woman who came home from her job as a hotel maid to find her father stabbed to death by someone who broke into their home. The guy shot and killed working in the stop and rob trying to eek out a living for his family. The people who can’t afford to live in better neighborhoods than the poor criminals and who have bullets flying into their house during the gang fights. The vast majority of the victims are also the poor.

  • Dan13

    Nah, they don’t want to imprison everyone. They need middle class and rich taxpayers to fund the private prisons and honest, poor people to staff them. I do find the entire concept of private prisons obscene. For-profit companies are going to look for ways to maximize profit at the expense of prisoner and worker safety and health and are going to have little to no rehabilitative programs. Further, they will lobby for tougher sentencing standards so that criminals will spend more time in prison and taxpayers will funnel more money to the companies. There’s also the temptation of corruption–which actually occurred in PA as two family court judges took bribes to sentence youth to work camps or juvenile detention for minor offenses.

    It is always important to reiterate that one of the corporal works of mercy is to visit the imprisoned. For-profit prisons are inherently un-Christian because they place money ahead of our, albeit sinful and flawed, brothers and sisters.

    • We’re all sinful and flawed. We’re probably all implicated in other people’s sin and flaws.

  • I don’t understand. Should we not have prisoners eat? Somebody has to prepare the food.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      I don’t think that’s the issue. The issue is when people who profit from such work turn around and lobby for judicial policies from which they benefit.

      • Lobby for judicial policies? I’ve heard of lobbying to legislators or the executive branches. I don’t know what it means to lobby the judiciery. Besides, that wasn’t the issue that blog was bringing up. Its issue was incarceration in general. The author doesn’t seem to believe in “mass incarceration,” however he defines mass incarceration. If people commit crimes, then they should be incarcerated, do you not agree? Most people don’t go to jail unless it’s pretty serious for first time offenses. Companies profit, and some company has to prepare the food. I don’t understand his point, your point, or Mark’s point.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          Is mandatory sentencing not a judicial policy?

          • No. Mandetory sentecing is legislated. That’s why it’s mandetory. There is no Judicial discretion.

  • PalaceGuard
  • Paxton Reis

    Our homegrown police state has become a big business. Add to the that the armaments that local police now have access to it is disturbing.

    Perhaps instead of spending $40k or more per year for prisoners, it would be better to spend that money on youngsters who live in broken and troubled homes so to place them in dormitories run by churches or schools. That would be a better investment in the long run as it would provide a much better chance of developing a productive and an educated individual.

    • guest

      Do you any idea how expensive residential placement is? If it’s done right, with sufficient and well qualified staff and therapy and schooling, it’s easily $40,0000 a year per placement. Also, the only basis on which to remove a juvenile from his/her home is if they have already committed serious crimes and all attempts to keep them in their home have failed. We can’t just swoop in and remove children from their homes because they’re not being raised properly. Also, they can only remain in placement during a period of probation – so a year or two.

      From what I’ve seen, residential placement fails to bring about any lasting change becasue the kids are already well established into the antisocial mindset before they can even qualify for residential placement and because they return to the exact same environment afterwards.

      This is an area where well meaning social workers, law enforcement, prosecutors, etc. have collaborated for decades trying to find a solution. Mentoring, sports, youth centers, support for the moms, “scared straight” presentations, drug and alcohol education, job programs, truancy programs, after school programs, etc. have been supplied with maybe some individual successes but more failures. Unfortunately, the real answer lies out of our control — the answer is having and raising children in the context of a strong marriage with a strong, emotionally stable fathers to set an example and guide their sons through the minefield of the adolescent and teen years.

      • Paxton Reis

        “the answer is having and raising children in the context of a strong
        marriage with a strong, emotionally stable fathers to set an example and
        guide their sons through the minefield of the adolescent and teen

        And for the reality of those children not in strong, emotionally stable two parent families we say “touch shit”, go to jail, and give up?

        Christians can do better.

        • guest

          Did you read my post? The part where I describe the substantial efforts that have been and are being made to reach these kids and the legal limits on the availability to residential placement? What are your ideas? Let’s hear them — seriously, what do you suggest we Christians do? Even more important, what have you personnally done and what are you doing to help this situation? Really, your response is worthless. Let’s hear better.