Is America's Prison System Legalized Slavery?
by duo | November 8, 2008 at 05:07 pm | 205 views | 8 comments | 32 recommendations

IS SLAVERY REALLY OVER in America, or was the privilege to enslave human beings and enforce their labor simply relegated to the nation's prison system? The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America provides that no person can "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."* Therefore, citizens can only become slaves after having "due legal process" and sentencing by the courts. Does the desire to have complete control over human beings by force and use them for profit-making enterprise explain why 1 in every 134 Americans is currently in prison, nearly two-thirds of them for non-violent offenses?

Congress apologized to African Americans for slavery and Jim Crow practices this year, but is it really over, or is slavery actually one of the fastest growing enterprises in the country, with hundreds of thousands of African Americans being "captured" from their communities in America rather than from African villages? As private industry downsizes and workers find their jobs either dissolved or transferred overseas, our prison industry continues to expand, with mandatory sentencing restrictions and three-strikes policies to ensure the continued success of the enterprise.

Slavery is a prominent part of United States history. Slavery has existed for thousands of years in many cultures, but in the United States, the institution seemed to have been perfected. . . . Oliver Ellsworth, one of the signers of the Constitution wrote, "All good men wish the entire abolition of slavery, as soon as it can take place with safety to the public, and for the lasting good of the present wretched race of slaves."**

Like the enslavement of Africans which ended after the Civil War, today's prison system is a very profitable and cruel. Like original slavery, it favors "enslaving" citizens along racial lines, imprisoning a disproportionate number of African Americans and a growing number of immigrant women and children.

WHO IS IN PRISON? Taxpayers pay an estimated $185 Billion annually to incarcerate an ever increasing portion of our population, including 2,225 adolescent offenders who are serving life without the possibility of parole. Of the 2.3 million imprisoned Americans, 1.25 million are mental patients.

Besides the $185 Billion from taxpayers, prisons earn additional capital of an unspecified sum by using prison labor to manufacture marketable goods. Profits are expected to increase substantially as plans are underway to again use American prisoners as test subjects for pharmaceutical drugs.

With discussions to again use prisoners as convenient lab rats for pharmaceutical companies, it appears that authorities finally found some "use" for mentally ill Americans. Is this why families of mental patients have such trouble committing their sick relatives or getting community care under enforced treatment when needed? Is the system just waiting on our mental patients to do some crime worthy of imprisonment, like vagrancy, disturbing the peace, substituting psychiatric medicines with street drugs, or worse? Are sick Americans being deprived of needed treatment and thereby preserved to eventually join their fellow mental patients warehoused in jail? Is support for mental patients withheld in order to eventually enrich private prison profiteers? Have we got a monster under our beds?

Who profits? It would behoove taxpayers to demand to see the investment portfolios of judges and elected officials and others who have authority over public policy. For these are the people who determine the length of prison sentences and vote on harsher, longer sentences but refuse to budget for job and recreation programs for our youth and community care for mental illness. See if these decision-makers are likely driven by the same carnivious greed that once moved this nation to enslave millions of people for centuries. Persons who do not wish to profit from the enslavement of their fellow human beings, including mental patients and children, should check their own IRA accounts and investment portfolios.

According to The Federal Inmate Labor Program, even the federal government is unwilling to forego taking full advantage of the 21st Century legalized enslavement of American citizens - disproportionately comprised of those who are black, brown, poor, or mentally ill.

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Excerpt from Biotech Empire, by Andrew Bosworth, Ph.D.
Biotech Empire

The federal government is taking the entire concept of prison labor to a new level: The Federal Inmate Labor Program. Details of the program can be found on the Pentagon’s own website. Documents released as far back as 2005 establish “Procedures for establishing a civilian inmate prison camp on Army installations.” Sample text from the Federal Inmate Labor Program:

b. The Army is not interested in, nor can afford, any relationship with a corrections facility if that relationship stipulates payment for civilian inmate labor…

(3) No photograph, film, nor video may be taken or made of any inmate labor detail or member for any reason without prior written permission from both (name of the Army organization) PAO and (name of local federal corrections facility) officials.

In other words, the federal government is seeking unpaid laborers from among the pool of prisoners who would not be incarcerated long-term in other nations — non-violent and petty offenders who do not need constant guard. Just as in the Third Reich, federal authorities wish to convey their good intentions; in this case, they seek to enrich the life of prisoners:

“(2) Providing meaningful work for inmates…”

So it is not surprising that inmates are becoming guinea pigs for medical experiments and drug testing. Big Pharma faces a shortage of experimental subjects. Ian Urbina, in the New York Times, explains how the pharmaceutical lobby is on the verge of changing — or reversing — federal law:

An influential federal panel of medical advisers has recommended that the government loosen regulations that severely limit the testing of pharmaceuticals on prison inmates, a practice that was all but stopped three decades ago after revelations of abuse…

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References:

* Constitution On Slavery

** Constitutional Topic: Slavery - The U.S. Constitution Online - USConstitution.net

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Mary Neal
Website: The Wrongful Death of Larry Neal

Author's page Mary Neal - "Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill ("AIMI")" - My Care2

Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill: Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill :: Care2 Groups (Human / Civil Rights)

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And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. ~ Matthew 25:40