How many people did you feed today? Or better put, how many people did you feed when you were locked up?
I know I fed quite a few. There were the DOC employees who made their money, including overtime, because I messed around and got myself locked up. And every time one of us screwed things up, they got more work. No wonder that I dude I know that works in corrections told me, “Our CO’s don’t like you volunteers. Y’all trying to bring some order and life in this place, but some of those CO’s got a saying: ‘Chaos is cash!’”
I fed some stockholders, too. I was in a facility run by a for-profit company that made money on my misery. A lot of for-profit prison companies get paid by the bed, so it is in their best interest to keep the place full, cut corners on services and maximize profits for their owners, executives and shareholders. You read about the one company that understaffed their prison in Idaho to save money, while having staff file false timesheets so they could be seen “in compliance” with corrections regulations…They had more assaults there than in the other state prisons combined…”Chaos is cash.”
Food companies made money off me. Commissary charges for food you know you had to have to offset whatever was institutional fare. There are food companies today that I won’t buy from ‘cause they got my money when I was locked up. Oh, except for those noodles…I stopped eating them WHILE I was in jail. You ain’t making me no “chi-chi” without washin’ your hands first, yo. I spoke at an event when I got out and the folks gave me a fruit basket as a gift…with a bag of those noodles in it as a joke. It was in a church, so I had to edit my response.
And some companies make money off of cheap jail and prison labor. Twenty cents an hour for work that should pay seventy five times the amount! That’s slavery, which by the way, is still legal in the US if you are in prison or jail. Check the 13th amendment that ended slavery. There’s an exception for convicts.
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, EXCEPT AS A PUNISHMENT FOR CRIME WHEREOF THE PARTY SHALL HAVE BEEN DULY CONVICTED, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” -The 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
So why tell you all this stuff today? First, because it’s wrong for people to make so much money from the incarceration complex. That’s misery money, and makes incentive to lock folk up to make money off them. But, for real for real, it’s also incentive for me to live in a way where I am not forced to feed someone else’s kids…I got enough trouble feeding my own.
I used to work with a teacher who told students, “Keep acting up; You’re gonna make sure some country boy has a job upstate.” Well here’s a newsflash, country boy: the system has pitted us against each other because it doesn’t like you either. You didn’t grow up wanting to be a CO, but the system took over the farm business, closed the steel mill, moved industry for profit’s sake…and now you are stuck in a job you don’t want either. It ain’t you versus us, it’s the two of us versus something bigger. And you’re feeding their kids too.