INCARCERATE FOR PROFIT - Privatization, The Redistribution Of Wealth Upwards
Updated: Feb 26, 2019
Privatization is essentially about the maximum redistribution of common or public wealth upwards into the hands of a few from an activity, as possible. My direct experience with 'lock up' evidenced how overtly incarceration has become a for profit industry, and how much the for profit incarceration industry abuses the taxpayer to maximize those profits. Consider the outsourced food provision and delivery function at the Palm Beach County Jail during the time I was there. Inmates who had been in that jail over the decades stated that when the County ran the food concession, they were served modest food, but it was nourishing food, and enough of it for the average appetite. While cooked breakfast cereal like oatmeal was common, they also received real eggs with a sausage link or bacon at least once a week, and sometimes they would receive pancakes and sausage on another day. They would occasionally receive a hamburger or chicken sandwich for lunch; a solid chunk of protein. Dinner would occasionally feature a piece of meatloaf or single piece of chicken with a baked or roasted potato and a green vegetable.
During the eight months I was retained in that jail; (while trying to unravel why the documents the jail purportedly had on record did not correspond with the documents my bail bondsmen obtained from the courts, which was the excuse for the jail not being able to process my bail, and being told that a special court hearing would be required to reconcile the discrepancy, a corruption story in itself,) and, after food provision in the jail had been outsourced and privatized, I was never served what I could consider to be a nutritionally balanced or healthy meal. There was never an adequate amount of daily protein served and every meal was refined carbohydrate intensive. Breakfast was almost always a modest amount of some form of refined carbohydrate and sugar. A quarter pint of milk with dry cereal somedays, with only an occasional orange or apple was a repeated breakfast. Perhaps once per week, a small portion of, what was similar to, scrambled powdered eggs with bread or another refined carbohydrate was served. The most substantial form of solid protein commonly served, (once every week or two), was a single hot dog, sometimes with beans (the most healthy source of protein ever served). The primary source of protein was a half slice of bologna type lunch meat cut into 1/4 inch pieces and stirred through plain macaroni or similar refined carbohydrate. A treat was very small bits of, what appeared to be, a chicken like meat, tripled or quadrupled in size with heavy breading and deep fried. While white rice, beans, or another starch were occasionally served, macaroni was served nearly every day if not twice per day, with a slice, or two at max, of bread. Fresh green vegetables or salad were virtually non-existent. Canned peas, carrots, or mixed vegetables were sometimes served, but not daily. I had a lifetime adult weight average of 140 to 145 lbs. upon entering jail. Because of the very high refined carbohydrate, low protein and low vegetable, for profit diet; and possibly a lack of any significant exercise, I weighed an unprecedented 190 plus lbs. after eight months in jail, and I never ate my white bread!
Many judgmentally proclaim that those who are incarcerated don't deserve to be fed any better than that. Yet, the majority of those in jail had never had a hearing after arraignment or been to trial, so they had never been found guilty of any crime. I spoke with people who had been in jail for as long as three years without going to trial or having been found guilty of a crime. In some instances, prosecutors did not want inmates to go to trial because they didn't have sufficient evidence to prove them guilty, but simply didn't want them released. If those persons didn't have enough money for bail, or weren't offered bail, they were doomed to remain in jail on the taxpayer's dime indefinitely. That, however, is merely one symptom of the incarceration for profit industry, but, not the cause for it. The taxpayer was abused by virtue of the fact that any cost savings derived from feeding the incarcerated very low quality, and small quantities of food, was not passed on to the taxpayer, but, was retained by the 'for profit' food purveyor. When inmates were to be released from jail, they were almost always released in the middle of the night, like I was at about 3:00 a.m. The purpose of doing that, it was explained by inmates, is because if an inmate is in the jail for a certain time past midnight, the taxpayer could be charged for another full day of inmate maintenance, even though the inmate would not be there to even eat breakfast. That extra day of profit from not feeding subsistence nutrition to a released inmate may not seem to be much money in itself, but, when it's multiplied by the thousands of inmates which cycle through that jail annually, it adds up to a considerable sum of taxpayer money. In addition to skimming countless extra days of profit from inmates not in residence, by feeding them so little while they are incarcerated, inmates are sure to be hungry at the end of every day. That's where the big profits from the private orders of 'jail' commissary items such chips, meat sticks, dry ramen noodles, instant beverage mixes, candy, coffee, and personal items; such as sweat shirts to withstand the unheated jail temperatures, and hair shampoo which isn't available otherwise. Large corporations get the contracts to provide these meal services and concessionary items; reportedly invested in by some of America's most highly placed politicians, producing large profits. While a single packet of ramen noodles might cost ten cents at Walmart, they cost a full dollar in jail. Consequently, the poor who entered jail without money to place in commissary escrow accounts went hungry nearly every night. There was a dreadful fear of being hungry at the end of the day among many inmates, and many would trade nearly anything for enough bread to stave off hunger pains during the night.
The for profit medical concession was just as much of an abuse of the taxpayer, and those incarcerated who had never been found guilty of a crime; as well as being torturous to them, as was the food concession. Because the taxpayer was billed every time a patient went to the clinic, there was an outrageous effort to get as many inmates to the clinic daily as possible, without necessarily properly treating the condition which the inmate was being seen for, or, after the condition no longer needed treatment. Yet, there was a general apathy and quarrelsome indifference to those needing medical attention by many on the medical staff, and not uncommon incompetence. Personally, I was deprived of prescribed medication and proper medical treatment frequently, while having to submit official complaints that documented necessary medical treatment was being withheld, which caused discomfort and pain at the time, and which resulted in permanent physical damage upon ultimately leaving jail. But, in order to keep the daily visits to the clinic high, very big guards; commonly referred to as the 'goon squad,' would go to the cells with a list of names in the morning and literally pull inmates from their beds to go to the clinic, even though the inmate might tell them that they are well and don't need to go to the clinic. If the inmates name was on the list, they were escorted or dragged to the clinic, and the taxpayer was billed for it.
All of this occurred in conditions which violated the law and policies of the jail itself. Even while I was in one of several cells dedicated to inmates with ongoing medical needs, a cell with twenty two beds had as many as 43 inmates in it at one time. This required plastic floor pallets with thin vinyl covered mattresses being scattered about for excess inmates to sleep on. There were floor beds under or next to dining tables and the only seating in the cell, as well as floor beds in the bathrooms to accommodate the excess quantity of inmates. I, personally, fell backwards over a floor bed that was immediately next to the slot in the barred wall which food was passed through, with my food tray, after someone inadvertently bumped me, because the space was that tight. The jail was unheated, so on a night when emergency shelters were opened to let the homeless escape the near freezing temperature, freezing temperature air was pumped through the jail without pause. Because it was so cold in the cells that inmates covered themselves with every thing possible and spent the days wrapped in their bed covers, they applied toilet tissue and soap to air vent grills to reduce the amount of cold air continuously blowing in. But, as soon as the guards made their twice daily rounds through the cell, they forced inmates to remove the tissue blocking the freezing air. Inmates formed a cue to take turns going under the hot shower to warm their bodies back to normal, or tolerable, around the clock, 24/7. This, of course, caused a buildup of excess moisture in the cell which caused the cold to penetrate through the covers and scant clothing of many, while water began condensing on the walls and streaming down into puddles on the floor. But, the more inmates they could crowd into a single cell resulted in more days of inmate care that could be charged to the taxpayer. The ultimate point to take from this example of redistribution of public wealth upwards into the hands of a few of society's 'takers' and 'predators' is that, whenever the possibility to defraud or steal the public's money exists, there will always be some with enough greed or desire to try and do so. The moral of this situation is, that public money should never be put at risk to the greed and frailty of human self-serving nature. Nearly every Corporate Right cry to 'privatize' is a cry for a chance to defraud or steal public money, which is a double taxation on the American Majority taxpayer.