This article is very much relevant to a few of the themes that have been on my mind recently. The relationship of our current capitalism to humane treatment of human beings is one and here, the profit motive is sound business motive for advocating (and using money gained from the business to advocate loudly) for more sentences and longer sentences. We already have one of the highest, if not the highest, incarceration rates in the world, many there, by the way, because a president from the lefter side of the spectrum decided to show that a democrat could be bad ass on crime, too, and initiated harsher sentencing guidelines including the “three strikes” mandates.
So, human beings are being locked up and American corporations profit by their being locked up and such a thing has been allowed to happen in the name, ironically, of a free market. What could be wrong with doing what has to be done to keep stock holders happy, even if it means there are prison money backed lobbyists in the back rooms (I think they might be able to come out now) doing deals to insure a growing clientele.
Another theme has concerned the danger of neoliberalism. Mr. Clinton was very much a neoliberal and his administration’s policies certainly were something other than a decent liberal would approve, for one the dealings with laws pertaining to businesses, particularly the banking sector where rather lenient and that push for loosening did have something to do with bankers, mortgage lenders, and stock trading companies feeling liberated enough to do what they were doing when the economy fell apart at the end of the George W. Bush’s administration.
Neoliberal have avoided taking any blame for what happened just before Obama took office and, too, do not like it mentioned that the Clinton era get tough on criminals policies have much to do with the numbers of people in prison, so many that Obama was trying to let some out because the population was so outnumber what jails were capable of holding that conditions within became so bad that some were beginning to recognize that inhumane treatment of human beings within these institutions was not the exception but the rule.
What should become an iconic example of the neoliberal mind at work is to be found in this passage from the story:
Alex Friedmann, who is an associate director with the Human Rights Defense Center, a prisoner advocacy group, and an activist shareholder in GEO Group, said the company has worked to amass political influence because public contracts are its lifeblood. ‘They have to lobby and curry political favor because that’s what their business model is based on,’ he said.”
I do not think I need to explain.