The Labour Economics study suggests two potential reasons for the increase: corruption and increased capacity.
Cool hand rebuke<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQyMTIyNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NjY1NTYyOH0.0MCPKN3If94mYCNf3mMNrnTvJXjXN_bKLhgk9203EXk/img.jpg?width=917&coordinates=0%2C0%2C0%2C0&height=453" id="1627b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6d76421ba1ea0de4b09956b97e80c384" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
A chart showing prison population rates (per 100,000 people) in 2018. The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world.
Who profits with for-profit prisons?<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="97ac37e6c7f6f22ec130ea2d56871701"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/dB78NV2WpWc?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The Labour Economics study suggests that privately-run prisons do convicts a few favors at the moment of sentencing. However, proponents of private prisons often point to other benefits when making their case. Specifically, they argue that private prisons reduce operating costs, stimulate innovation in the correctional system, and reduce recidivism—the rate at which released prisoners are rearrested and return to prison.</p><p>In regard to recidivism, the research is mixed. <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0011128799045001002" target="_blank">One study</a> compared roughly 400 former prisoners from Florida, 200 released from private prisons and 200 from state-run facilities. It found the private-prison cohort maintained lower rates of recidivism. However, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1745-9133.2005.00006.x" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">another Florida study</a> found no significant rate differences. And two other studies—one from <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0011128799045001002" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Oklahoma</a> and another out of <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0734016813478823" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Minnesota</a>, both comparing much larger cohorts than the first Florida study— found that prisoners leaving private prisons had a greater risk of recidivism.</p><p>The research is also inconclusive regarding cost savings. <a href="https://www.hamiltonproject.org/assets/files/economics_of_private_prisons.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A Hamilton Project analysis</a> noted that such comparisons are difficult because private prisons, like all private companies, are not required to release operational details. In comparing what studies were available, the authors estimate the costs to be comparable and that "in practice the primary mechanism for cost saving in private prisons is lower salaries for correctional officers"—about $7,000 less than their public peers. They add that competition-driven innovation is lacking as the three largest firms control nearly the entire market.</p><p>"We aren't saying private prisons are bad," Galinato said. "But states need to be careful with them. If your state has previous and regular issues with corruption, I wouldn't be surprised to see laws being more skewed to give longer sentences, for example. If the goal is to reduce the number of incarcerated individuals, increasing the number of private prisons may not be the way to go."</p>
Remaining silent is being complicit.
- Protests around the world are demanding an end to police discrimination and violence against black citizens in America.
- Author and activist Dax-Devlon Ross offers advice on how white people can help during this moment.
- Ross's suggestions include thinking and voting locally, supporting black-owned businesses, and practicing self-reflection.
EarthRise Podcast 89: An Honest Conversation About Race (with Dax-Devlon Ross)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="df8a1046109cc2c6805707d2c808f656"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lLW74j9fvFE?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><h3>Think locally</h3><p>Do you know your local sheriff? We focus on big-ticket races. Down-ballot candidates are often skipped; otherwise, people choose an incumbent without further investigation. Ross believes it's essential to know who's running your neighborhood. Do they have a history of abuse? (<a href="https://8cantwait.org/" target="_blank">This resource</a> could help you find out.) Researching candidates for sheriff, judges, and other regional offices is important for changing the narrative. </p><p>We must also hold regional leaders accountable. For example, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti has taken a lot of heat this week. When he was voted into that office in 2017, only <a href="https://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-ln-los-angeles-mayor-election-turnout-20170321-story.html" target="_blank">20 percent</a> of the eligible population even bothered to cast a ballot. Today Garcetti <a href="https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-06-03/protests-demanding-racial-justice-gain-momentum-across-l-a" target="_blank">announced</a> that up to $250 million will be diverted from the police budget to address health care and education issues in the black community. That's a good sign, but we have to remain vigilant during its implementation, especially when considering the <a href="https://la.curbed.com/2020/1/7/21054171/measure-hhh-first-project-open-homeless-housing" target="_blank">ongoing failure</a> of the $1.2 billion homeless initiative passed in 2016. The effects of this week's protests need to be continually fought for until they're realized. </p><h3>Support black-owned businesses</h3><p>On his Netflix show, "Trigger Warning with Killer Mike," the rapper <a href="https://kulturehub.com/killer-mike-black-owned-business/" target="_blank">tries to support</a> only black-owned businesses for a day. It's not as easy as it sounds. Ross found the humor in the episode, but ultimately, "it was also tragic." </p><p>Earlier this week, the LA Times published <a href="https://www.latimes.com/food/story/2020-05-31/black-owned-restaurants-in-los-angeles" target="_blank">this list</a> of 85 black-owned food services and restaurants. Ross takes it a step further: Who's your financial advisor? Your banker? Lawyer? If you own a business, how does staff diversity look?</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Maybe add some folks of color to that list of people you want to talk to. Sometimes white people implicitly assume 'white is right.' And a lot times white people are right. I'm just asking them to break it up a little bit, and think, 'How can I support businesses that are POC-owned and -led?'"</p><p>Considering how disproportionally blacks are being harmed during this pandemic—<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/01/business/economy/black-workers-inequality-economic-risks.html" target="_blank">skyrocketing unemployment rate</a>; higher death rates in the <a href="https://hbr.org/2020/05/the-disproportionate-impact-of-covid-19-on-black-health-care-workers-in-the-u-s" target="_blank">health care sector</a> and <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-14/covid-19-is-hurting-black-americans-more-in-almost-every-way" target="_blank">general population</a>—economic support is more important than ever. <a href="https://webuyblack.com/" target="_blank">We Buy Black</a> is a great resource. </p>
Demonstrators attend a "Sit Out the Curfew" protest against the death of George Floyd who died on May 25 in Minneapolis whilst in police custody, along a street in Oakland, California on June 3, 2020.
Photo by Philip Pacheco / AFP<h3>Do the inner work</h3><p>"What's coming up for you?" Ross requests that you investigate previous relationships, incidents, and mindsets around black people. Has one bad interaction colored your thinking on the race? If you've used isolated experiences to dictate beliefs, you need to rethink your biases. </p><p>Education is paramount. Ross mentions a white friend who recently learned about <a href="https://daily.jstor.org/the-devastation-of-black-wall-street/" target="_blank">Black Wall Street</a> while watching an episode of "Watchmen." At first, his friend thought it was fake. After researching the incident after he was furious over his ignorance. A century later, Human Rights Watch <a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/09/12/us-how-abusive-biased-policing-destroys-lives" target="_blank">found</a> police abuse centralized in the exact same region of Tulsa. You can't change what you refuse to investigate. Change begins when you explore your implicit bias.</p><p>If this week has taught us anything, it's that we desperately need to change. And then keep going, and going, because America's horrific record—our tragic present—is on full display. Turning away any longer would be criminal. The can has been kicked far too long. </p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
We'd like to think that judging people's worth based on the shape of their head is a practice that's behind us.
'Phrenology' has an old-fashioned ring to it. It sounds like it belongs in a history book, filed somewhere between bloodletting and velocipedes.
In classical liberalism, justice leaves society better off by providing a chance for a better life.
- How can we ensure people get what they are due, in terms of justice?
- Philosophy professor at University of Arizona, David Schmidtz says the answer to this question needs context. Who is the person we're referring to, and to what are we responding?
- Some elements of justice include equality, returning favors, and the right to air grievances.
In classical liberal philosophy, individual pursuit of happiness is made possible by a framework of law.
- The rule of law as a principle has a philosophical history before it was popularized by classical liberalism, which can be traced back to Greek philosopher Aristotle.
- The classical liberal conception of laws draws upon this pre-history but differs slightly. Yes, the end goal is the common good, however "goodness" varies by individual.
- In this way of thinking, instead of telling us what will make us happy, law serves as the framework that allows us to pursue our own unique happiness.