Did you see the good news?

For the first time in the nation’s history, more than one in 100 American adults are behind bars, according to a new report.

Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 last year, bringing it to almost 1.6 million, after three decades of growth that has seen the prison population nearly triple.

What? You don’t think that’s good news? That’s because you’re not on the board at Target or Levi Jeans. Let me remind you what we learned on this blogsite from Tina Busch-Nema. She pointed out that some of our corporations just love this slave labor:

If you’re unlucky enough to need to call information from your cell phone, the phone company will charge you out the wazoo–$5.00 per call.  But what’s really outrageous about the way you’re getting soaked is that the operator who gives you the number you want is probably being paid 23 cents an hour.  And she doesn’t even live in India.  Chances are, she’s in Texas.  In prison.  If she’s been at the job a long time, she might double her salary and earn 46 cents an hour.  Some racket, huh?

And it’s not the only one.  Some prisoners make auto parts, for instance.  Others make Levi jeans.  Corporations like Target and Microsoft contract for prisoners to manufacture goods for them.  One hundred percent of military clothing, including flak jackets, is made in prisons at similar bargain sub-sub-basement prices.  Count on it, though, that the military clothing is sold to the Pentagon at premium prices–maybe via Halliburton?

Figure out the profit margin for yourself on the phone call arrangement, and you’ll find it easy to believe that in 2000, lobbyists contributed over a million dollars to representatives in Southern states.  That’s where the bulk of privately run prisons are located.

This prison industrial complex gets the extra break, besides cheap labor, of being spared health care expenses.  This is a way to undermine unions without having to worry about strikers with signs out front.

This form of corporate welfare is so profitable that businessmen are intent on expanding it.  All they need to do so is … more prisoners.

And that, they are getting.