Letter to the Editor | Debtor’s prison and slave labor

July 2, 2014 

Studies on the majority’s wishes versus the wealthy’s on government results show the dominance of the wealthy in government, their bias against general education, infrastructure improvements, voting rights and a subtle reintroduction of slave labor and demonstrate our continued decline from our once great democracy.

More states are charging those accused of a crime with the court costs and fines for failure to pay for pursuing these charges, which include public defenders, DNA collection, jury, court paperwork, electronic monitoring, probation and prison. For the wealthy, it’s no problem; for the destitute, the burden is great. Debtors prison is the result.

Private prisons also are on the rise. With a monetary incentive to get more people into prison, they lobby Congress rather than rehabilitate.

Add to this, selective prosecution of the non-white population and selective crackdown on crack versus powdered cocaine which has resulted in the largest-ever number of black men in U.S. prisons.

The last part of this equation is the use of this prison labor by big business. Those corporations directly involved are many: Kmart, J.C. Penney, the Correction Corporation of America and Eddie Bauer.

Those that contract with those directly involved like McDonald’s, and those supporting others who perpetuate prison labor or the private prison corporations like the American Legislative Exchange Council, a business forum, Fidelity investments, and a slew of banks, oil companies, insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and more.

I hope America will wake up. It all amounts to debtors prisons and slave labor.

Doug Keith

State College

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