Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sentencing by contractual quota?

Then again sometimes this twenty-first-century America gets to be too much.

Here's news from the Ella Baker Center that the Corrections Corporation of America has offered to buy state prisons in order to run them privately if states promise to keep them 90% full for 20 years.

Bizarre. Or rather, considering Southern history, bizarrely atavistic.

Theoretically, at least, that could turn police forces and judicial systems into press gangs working without reference to guilt, innocence or policy goals, but simply to fill contractual quotas with doomed bodies.

[More: Via Ritholtz, ran across this New Yorker article in which Adam Gopnik says much of the above very much better. He starts with a different Corrections Corporation of America statement that's equally venal in the same vein, and answers it nicely:
"Brecht could hardly have imagined such a document: a capitalist enterprise that feeds on the misery of man trying as hard as it can to be sure that nothing is done to decrease that misery."
Gopnik goes on to be too nice about NYPD stop-and-frisk but he says a lot of thoughtful things too. Worth reading.]


  1. Wasn't there a case in Pennsylvania a while back of a juvenile court judge who was funneling innocent teen-agers into a private prison that was giving him some sort of kick-backs?

  2. Indeed. Sad story except that the judge's crime was at last considered to be a crime. Recent Forbes article says he was sentenced to 28 years in prison.

    Nice to hear from you, Ben.