A satire of dysfunctional politics and economic disparity.
Chapter IX: Day/Page 102 CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY. . . . It didn’t matter that it cost 100 times more to incarcerate someone in prison than to educate them in public schools. That wasn’t the point, because prisons were profitable businesses, while public schools were not, for the very reason that they were more easily privatized and generated 100 times more revenue per head. This way, at least, the helpless, hopeless, worthless, unemployable masses could actually contribute to the economy, rather than always being such a drag on the system, because, unlike education and other wasteful social programs slackers felt entitled to—which only drained the country’s coffers and reduced the motivation of poverty—the money that government paid to private companies to incarcerate its destitute citizens was now positively counted toward the nation’s GDP. The more slackers the government locked up, and the earlier and longer they stayed there, the better it was for the nation’s economy and the higher the GDP.
What a system!
And, of course, like other good-growth businesses, prisons wanted to expand their operations to provide a healthy return for investors; so they worked closely with the KKK and right-wing faith-based groups to ensure that no rod was spared and no citizen spoiled, thus keeping a steady supply of impoverished people trudging constantly through the system.
Another favorable feature of this lucrative business model was that once someone was incarcerated and tangled up in the system, they had significantly fewer economic and social options available to them upon their release, leading to a robust recidivism rate of about 80%. In other words, once they had a customer satisfactorily entangled in the profitable prison business, they pretty much had a loyal, repeat customer for life.
And, as if that boon were not enough, because of their poor education, paltry economic means, lack of contraceptives, and all pregnancies now forced to term, incarcerated people were much more likely to have oft-neglected, multitudinous little mutts—who, in turn, also wound up being loyal, life-long, repeat customers for the burgeoning prison companies. It was one of those on-going rackets where every family member got a turn up at bat.
It should not be surprising to learn, therefore, that the country with the world’s highest GDP—and the highest rates of illiteracy and infant mortality of any developed nation—also has the highest percentage of its citizens locked up tightly behind bars. In fact, this country is so much better at the task than any other developed nation, that the runner-up in second place only locks up about half the percentage of its citizens as does the winner in first. Put another way: No other developed country in the world even comes close to locking up as many of its people. They are in a category all by themselves. They are twice as good as second place, and three times better than third. They win the prize hands down! What could possibly be wrong with that?
Nothing! That’s how market forces should work, the right loudly and proudly proclaimed. It was natural. It was right. This was the immutable natural law of business, they claimed. . . .
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 by Gregory James All rights reserved