Halden Doerge just shared a link today that shows statistics that there are now more black men incarcerated than were in slavery when it was legal. One reply suggested that the comparison to slavery was unfortunate – though he doesn’t dispute the awfulness of the reality, so I’m not trying to pick a fight or be judgmental, certainly there are people in prison who “should” be there. The point is very important to drive home, though. Considering, according to the article, there are many many jobs now dependent on this vast prison system, and considering the rise of private for-profit prisons, we see that in fact, the incarceration of poor racial minorities is tied into our economy in a real way…and when it comes to private prisons, prisoners are literally commodities, “goods” that could be traded and whose existence brings money in for corporate elites.
This is exactly like slavery. Especially considering that much of this is a result of systematic failures in justice and not simply isolated individuals who are morally corrupt.
This reminds me that I need to look into literature on prisons and reform.