Friday, August 26, 2011

ProgressOhio sues to block OH prison privatization

Corporate stooge Ohio Gov. John Kasich wants to privatize five Ohio prisons.
He won't if ProgressOhio gets its way.

Yesterday, ProgressOhio went to court and sued to prevent Kasich from selling taxpayer property to private prison companies. These prison companies will not only gouge the government, they will lobby for laws to put more nonviolent offenders in their cages.

Here's what Brian Rothenberg, executive director of ProgressOhio, had to say about the lawsuit:
...we believe strongly that this case preserves a safe environment for these communities that house dangerous felons and preserves good jobs in an Ohio economy wracked by income deflation. In effect this action protects both safety and economic security for Ohio communities whose residents would see profit over safety and layoffs and pay cuts that will devastate consumer spending.
Clearly these provisions both violate the single subject law of the Ohio Constitution, deprive Ohioans of the right to a citizen veto and violates the Constitutional prohibition of the state in using its full faith and credit to invest its assets in a private corporation.
Here are a few things you need to know about prison privatizaton, courtesy of Dissenting Leftist:
Wells Fargo owns 4 million shares in the Geo Group, the second largest private prison corporation in America, and 50,000 shares in the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the largest private prison corporation in the country. These shares combined are valued at more than $120 million...
Companies such as the Geo Group and CCA do not earn their money by providing goods or services to customers. Rather, they make their money solely from the government, and solely for locking human beings in cages, mostly for non-violent offenses. Further, these companies actively lobby for unjust laws, largely using the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporatist conservative political group.
We've had plenty to say about the Koch-funded legislative roach motel known as ALEC in the past few weeks. It's a big reason why these Governors Gone Wild don't seem to have an original thought in their heads. They just do whatever ALEC tells them to do.

Here's a good summary of the kinds of laws ALEC pushes in order to fill the prisons and the pockets of the prison profiteers, thanks to Bob Sloan and Mike Elk at the Nation:
ALEC helped pioneer some of the toughest sentencing laws on the books today, like mandatory minimums for non-violent drug offenders, “three strikes” laws, and “truth in sentencing” laws. In 1995 alone, ALEC’s Truth in Sentencing Act was signed into law in twenty-five states. (Then State Rep. Scott Walker was an ALEC member when he sponsored Wisconsin's truth-in-sentencing laws and, according to PR Watch, used its statistics to make the case for the law.) ...
ALEC arranged secret meetings between Arizona’s state legislators and CCA to draft what became SB 1070, Arizona’s notorious immigration law, to keep CCA prisons flush with immigrant detainees.
You wonder how these people sleep at night.