Friday, February 22, 2008


So, you think prison is where the good guys put the bad guys? Sometimes, maybe there are those who need to be off the block for a while, but by and large, history shows that prisons are often used by the rich and powerful to ;
Dispose of foes.

Most people probably think that prisons are run by the government. Well, they used to be, but there is a new phase in the evolution of incarceration.
This is where the "stock market" gets involved, and the corporateers move in to that gap between the taxpayer, and the infrastructure of their state.

Bridgend, here in Wales is a town that feeds the balance sheet of a company known as group 4 securicor.
They have an institution known as PARC PRISON.

Now most folks would sooner not know the ins and outs of prison life, understandable, there are some rather nasty characters therein.
But it turns out that the management at Bridgend prison have strong links with another group, Wackenhut, whose most nefarious project perhaps, is the jail at Guantanamo bay.
Oh, and some of the prisons in Iraq are under the control of this group...

Here is a quote from a report, which catalogues some of the excesses carried out by these privatised prisons....

"..There is a particularly disturbing theme in their custodial institutions; brutality including sexual abuse. At the New Mexico prison, a 17 year old youth was beaten so badly his intestines leaked into his colostomy bag. While in another Wackenhut establishment, the State of Texas indicted twenty guards for sexually abusing prisoners..."

More here.

In prisons, as many as 90% of the prisoners are suffering from mental disorder. Which often means that the crime they have committed may well be a manifestation of their illness.
Drunken behaviour, use of drugs, teenage high jinx.

Report here.

Today, Parc prison houses around 1,000 young prisoners., who if the statistics hold true, will mostly be suffering from mental disorders and are generating profits for a less than socially constructive corporation.

The local politician, himself a former criminal lawyer, (aren`t they all?)
has a website, and speaks highly of this enterprise, ...

"....Prisons are noisy, claustrophobic institutions where personal privacy counts for nothing. That’s not a criticism but a statement of fact. They are not after all meant to be cushy. Our prison service is professional, and has within it many people who have the welfare and rehabilitation of prisoners at heart while maintaining a necessarily strict regime within the walls.

To me, that’s the way prison has to be..."

Mr Jones`s Jail.

He seems not to see a thousand young people, mostly with mental illnesses, serving sentences for menial crimes, but most of all .. "doing time, making money for the rich."
Either Mr Jones is unaware of the actualities of mental health within the prison, or he does know, and chooses to ignore the issue, whichever the reason, the lives of those inside the jail should not be wasted in the name of corporate profit and political point-scoring.

Taking the train from here in West Wales to Cardiff, always involves a few moments waiting at Bridgend. If you`d like to see the railway station, on a depressingly drunken and violent afternoon then click the title, "Prisons".
Sometimes I wondered if any of those who alighted and boarded had been at the jail, all those young prisoners would have families, from all parts of Wales.
Most would be unaware that the incarceration of their loved ones was considered an asset on a balance sheet.
Indeed, even Deutsche bank reaps a part of the profits, 11%, to be exact.

Bridgend, as many here in Wales are painfully aware, has its` fair share of troubles, could the prison, and the personal stories of heartache and suffering possibly be a part of the problem, rather than the solution?


The Future Was Yesterday said...

Over 90% of prisoners have a mental disorder
I would put that number at 100%. It takes a special mentality to plan to commit a crime sufficient to land you there.

As for youth, crimes while high, etc., I have little sympathy. Did anyone hold them down while somebody else poured the drugs or booze down them? "They just made a mistake?" Yes they did - and part of growing up is learning mistakes can cost dearly!

Corporations running Prisons is, and has been, a problem. Now that we have no habeas corpus, no constitution, it's literally a rake the loot in while you can mentality.

Leftwing Criminologist said...

actually, the tarrif for prisons as punishment keep coming down.

the question of crime whilst drunk and high is important but understanding the actual factors that lead to people generally being in those situations is important (similarly with suicide), wales in general is plagued with unemployement and underemployement agmongst other social problems - id' argue that it is these social factors that lead to binge drinking and increased drug taking.
Of course, we have to do something about crime - but we have to acknowledge that prison doesn't do anything to solve why someone is committing a crime - at best it takes someone out of public circulation for a while (this is especially true with the current massive overcrowding in the prison population).

I've wrote several times on prisons and once on private prisons specifically see

an average patriot said...

Prisons turn casual criminals into long term hard core lifers mor often than not. You see some unaffected people come out but it is not the norm. Here we build prisons as fast as homes. We can't build them fast enough.
Here we are thinking millions of us will be in the hundreds of concentration camps around the country once Bush makes his move!

TomCat said...

This is a topic on which I can claim some expertise, because I do volunteer work with prisoners, both before and after their release from prison. Most generalities about prisoners are wrong. Some are career criminals. More are people who made bad decisions that cause their lives to spiral down until they hit bottom in a cell. Over 95% will be released, so what happens to them is important to us. Whether or not they are provided the tools and given the opportunities to reassimilate will impact the safety of our communities.

An interesting anecdote: an acquaintance of mine, a prison psychologist, used correctional officers as a control group when testing inmates for criminal thinking errors. It turned out the guards were more criminally inclined than the convicts.

an average patriot said...

I saw you inquiring somewhere. I didn't have your E so I thought I would get this to you this way. Hope you don't mind!
Obama is not a Muslim extremist he is a Christian for what it is worth and will be our next President if the right does not succeed in smearing Him!

I wanted to discuss some serious business today but found it necessary to dispel a recurring right wing rumor that Obama is a Muslim and is going to convert and destroy our America that Bush has already destroyed with his perverted Christianity. I was sent a link to the right on predictions of Gerald Celente, director of the Trends Research Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. he is the expert the our so called Political experts turn to. He is pretty good but I am afraid too optimistic. He is calling the our financial demise media demise and our underhanded business structure and that we will rebuild. He fails to realize those are the systems that run America and the American people have shown no stomach to rebuild our societal structure. I do recommend reading it

I also wanted to discuss Bush's asinine $3 trillion dollar Budget 2009 that funds his wars and further chokes the future of our kids. If you want to look at it, it is Here
However, I received another lying underhanded email that the right wing has routinely used to sway uneducated voters and with Super Tuesday only a day away it is very critical to dispel the lying rumor that Barak Obama is a Muslim and a terrorist who is going to undermine America that Bush irritably already undermined right under the very noses of those who ridiculously believe these falsehoods about Barak. I will not justify all the ridicule noted but I have to address these two important points before I pass this on to get the truth out!

Is it true that Obama was sworn in using the Quran instead of the Bible? No he did not, nor did Congressman Keith Ellison, as is widely reported in Y!A. During the official swearing in ceremony for all Congressmen, they don't use the Bible or anything else, they just raise their right hands and repeat the oath as its dictated. Congressman Ellison, who is indeed a Muslim, later posed for a photo op wherein he and Nancy Pelosi put their hands on a Koran once owned by Thomas Jefferson, a slave-owner and sex partner of slave Sally Hemmings. Real questions Real answers

Another: Is Barack Obama a Muslim and or a terrorist? Barack: "In the internet age, there are going to be lies that are spread all over the place. I have been victimized by these lies. Fortunately, the American people are, I think, smarter than folks give them credit for." "Dueling chain e-mails claim he's a radical Muslim or a 'racist' Christian. Both can't be right. We find both are false. If these two nasty e-mail messages are any indication, the 2008 presidential campaign is becoming a very dirty one. One claims that Obama is 'certainly a racist' by virtue of belonging to Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, which it says 'will accept only black parishioners' and espouses a commitment to Africa. Actually, a white theology professor says he's been 'welcomed enthusiastically' at the church, as have other non-blacks. Another e-mail claims that Obama 'is a Muslim,' attended a 'Wahabi' school in Indonesia, took his Senate oath on the Koran, refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and is part of an Islamic plot to take over the U.S. Each of these statements is false. These false appeals to bigotry and fear remind us of the infamous whispering campaign of eight years ago, when anonymous messages just before the South Carolina primary falsely accused Republican candidate John McCain of fathering an illegitimate child by a black woman.

In closing: OBAMA IS NOT AND HAS NEVER BEEN A MUSLIM! Los Angeles Times: The Rumors About Obama Are "False And Vile." The Los Angeles Times wrote in an editorial, "That the rumors are false and vile is self-evident...Presidential candidates of both parties have a duty to denounce not only the smear against Obama but the bigotry that underlies it."
Obama Spokesman Robert Gibbs Issued A Statement Explaining That "Senator Obama Has Never Been A Muslim, Was Not Raised As A Muslim, And Is A Committed Christian." "Obama's campaign aides have emphasized his strong Christian beliefs and downplayed any Islamic connection. The Illinois senator was raised 'in a secular household in Indonesia by his stepfather and mother,’ his chief spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said in a statement in January after false reports began circulating that Obama had attended a radical madrasa, or Koranic school, as a child. 'To be clear, Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ in Chicago,’ Gibbs' Jan. 24 statement said."

Obama "Beckoning" Felt At Trinity United Church Of Christ, "Submitted Myself To His Will, And Dedicated Myself To Discovering His Truth And Carrying Out His Works." Obama said, "So one Sunday, I put on one of the few clean jackets I had, and went over to Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street on the South Side of Chicago. And I heard Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright deliver a sermon called "The Audacity of Hope." And during the course of that sermon, he introduced me to someone named Jesus Christ.

I learned that my sins could be redeemed. I learned that those things I was too weak to accomplish myself, He would accomplish with me if I placed my trust in Him. And in time, I came to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death, but rather as an active, palpable agent in the world and in my own life. It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn't fall out in church, as folks sometimes do. The questions I had didn't magically disappear. The skeptical bent of my mind didn't suddenly vanish. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth and carrying out His works."

Barack Obama Is Not and Has Never Been a Muslim. Obama never prayed in a mosque. He has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ. the truth about Obama

James Joiner
Gardner Ma

landsker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
landsker said...

Ah yes, JIm>
I guess maybe the attempt at sardonism was lost in the sea-crossing.
The question, rhetorical and a reflection upon the sad fact that for some people, religion does matter went thus.....

""Is Obie a christian or a muslim?, Both sects seem to bring trouble.
It`s always seems a mixture of pain and shame, when people have to bring religion into politics, but it`s been going on since the days of Babylon and before.""

Seems like when the extremists, either christian or islamic, have but one policy, the bomb, what`s the difference? Stealth bombers or suicide bombers.
Both concepts are fucking mad, and just cause misery and grief.

Like most people, I just don`t do organised religion, no offence, I go with the secular.

landsker said...

Hi Dan,
Over here, alcohol is legal at 18, but the standards of enforcement are lax, and many teenagers are getting hooked on the stuff, with disaterous consequences.
The cost of keeping an aggressive drunken kid in jail is around £300-500 per week, almost a thousand dollars per week. (more in some circumstances). This does not include the cost of the police and judicial systems.
For which the prisoner gets up to 23 hours in small 10x6 room, a tin cot and a piss-pot to share with another unfortunate, and three meals of dubious quality, and will learn the intricacies of criminal trade.

Left-wing Cr. Hi, good to hear from the "professionals".
Of course, social factors lead to minor crime and alcohol/drug abuse, and it could be argued that sums of money spent on prisons and punitive response, could be spent on improvements in early education and social welfare.
I`m not sure of the exact statistics, but the rate of re-offending and re-imprisonment is around 60% , and that Britain/
Wales imprisons more citizens than any other western country, except for America.

The prison system always has been known as a place to learn and make contacts, as for those "camps" in America?
The "neo-cons" might just end up being the inmates, I hear there are quite a few rumblings of revolution in the land of the free.
Hi, I didn`t know about your prison gig, interesting indeed.
One thing our systems share is the number of inmates incarcerated for drugs offences.
Already in much of mainland Europe, there is no criminal charge for using recreational drugs, and thus far less of their people are in jail, which creates a more productive and tolerant workforce, a win-win thing!

Prisons, and the judicial system is a certainly topic which needs to be examined closely, it needs change.

Leftwing Criminologist said...

reoffending is about 66%.

i wouldn't consider myself a professional - i suppose i'm a postgrad student - but i majored at undergrad in psychology.

england and wales i think is the second highest western country as you say (or at least per 100,000). in west europe i think only portugal is higher in the last statistics i got (although it probably isn't anymore).

in the world after us is russia, china, several former soviet states, south africa and interestingly the Cayman Islands.

I'm meaning to post some more stuff up on comparatice penology.

yeah cost of prison per person is usually over £1000 a week, and given we have about 82000 in at the moment and over 52 weeks we're talking an awful lot of money there

Paul said...

The idea with imprisonment is supposed to be that the criminal becomes "rehabilitated" so that they may become productive citizens.
How can we expect corporate prisons to rehabilitate anyone since it is in their financial interest to encourage criminality?

TomCat said...

Landsker, that sounds a lot like the system here. We now have 1 out of every 100 adults in prison.

Paul, that's the theory, but the practice is to focus on retribution rather than rehabilitation, which is really a misnomer. Habilitation would be a better term, because most prisoners never had full mental fitness. Programming is scarce, and those of us who volunteer often spend too much time fighting for access to the prisoners who want our help.