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Monday, June 18, 2007

The Prison-Industial Happiness

posted by on June 18 at 15:19 PM

An advertisement on the side of a bus:
89c575bb8426.jpg Beyond the issue of the mammy wearing purple, there is the issue of the smiling prison employees. They are happy because all of these locked up people in Washington are opening their little “doors to success.” The moment people are not getting locked up as much, then they will be unhappy prison employees (sad face on the mammy, a dark cloud over Mt Rainier). But something in them is confident that this decline in the number of criminals will never happen. This society will never be short on the closing doors that wonderfully open for them. Prison work is a secure way to make a living.

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So that's how the drug war helps our economy.

Posted by Tiffany | June 18, 2007 3:27 PM

charles youre reading into this too much. leave the overanalyzing to PMS'ing women. the workers are happy cuz if they were sad then people would think that place of employment was not a nice place to work. that's how all ad's pandering to employment recruitment work.

Posted by monk | June 18, 2007 3:38 PM

Absolutely, as soon as the crime problem is solved, all of them will be sad and frowning. On another note, once medical researchers find THE CURE FOR DISEASE, then the entire health care system will collapse... what will the Doctors and Nurses do to earn a living once there are no more sick people?

Posted by Phenics | June 18, 2007 3:39 PM

Are mammies not allowed to wear purple or something?

Posted by Sally Struthers Lawnchair | June 18, 2007 3:41 PM

California is our Gulag Archipelago (but George Jackson is by no means our Solzheinitzen).

Pre-1980s California had 6 state operated penitentiaries.

Post 90s has over 20 new ones both state owned and privately owned.

1 in 4 men over 20 in California are felons. I fall in that number.

Three strikes laws (unconstitutional double jeopardy though they may be) are not going to be repealed like we'd once hoped. Fist fight in High School, bounced check in college and you're probably gonna catch your 3rd strike serving time on the one you picked up writing the hot check.

Get ready to become well acquainted with prison politics as a simple survival mechanism, Washingtonians.

Posted by Joe Morgan | June 18, 2007 3:45 PM

Why did you call that lady a name? Are all black women supposed to be skinny?

Posted by what? | June 18, 2007 3:45 PM

If I my interpolate, they are smiling because they get to use the prisoners as personal sex slaves.

Posted by Sean | June 18, 2007 3:46 PM

At least it gives mostly uneducated inner city flunkys or rural do-nothings a paycheck to at least contribute to society.

And last time I checked the assholes in prison were there for a reason. The more that are in prison, the less are out making life a pain in the ass for those of us who actually contribute to this society.

Lock em up and throw away the key...

Posted by ecce homo | June 18, 2007 4:02 PM

ecce homo checks assholes in prison. as a hobby. pass it on...

Posted by tomasyalba | June 18, 2007 4:09 PM

Remember, those who question the Drug War That Never Will End question or Fearful Leader!

Duty, Honor, failure to think! - marks of the US citizen!

Now go enlist and die for the Bush twins so they can party down in Rio!

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 18, 2007 4:09 PM

its amazing what a comma will do...

As I chickle and chuckle...

Posted by ecce homo | June 18, 2007 4:12 PM

soon everyone will either be a prison inmate or a prison employee.

all fat black women with jobs are mammies? or is it just because she sold out to the man for a paycheck? of because she's allowed herself to be exploited, along with latinos & asian & rural caucasians by the P.I.C.?

charles, you're lucky you're african - you can chalk it up to cultural ignorance.

Posted by maxsolomon | June 18, 2007 4:41 PM

Well now we know Charles hates black people too.

Posted by elswinger | June 18, 2007 4:50 PM

@13 - no, he was partying with a few last night. As were we all.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 18, 2007 5:51 PM

The prison system is an abomination that solves nothing.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | June 18, 2007 11:52 PM

Read "The Dispossessed" by LeGuinn.

Posted by Ecce Homo Is Cool, Tough Prison Gay, Not Neihbors Gay | June 19, 2007 4:00 AM

Fist fight in High School, bounced check in college and you're probably gonna catch your 3rd strike serving time on the one you picked up writing the hot check.

None of these crimes are likely to be strikes. You'd probably end up with a few months in jail (at most) on each and be on your way. Sorry to ruin a good rant with facts, though.

Strike offenses are the worst of the worst -- serious violent crimes like Robbery, serious Assaults, Rape, Manslaughter, and Murder. If you think people that commit three of these crimes don't belong in prison for life, you're nuts.

Posted by Bax | June 19, 2007 5:49 AM

There is a "culture" among people who work in prison that dehumanizes the prisoners. When new arrivals come in they are refered to as "a chain", not as humans who deserve any level of respect. The tone is usually set by the the most brutal prison guards who are often emboldened and enabled by other prison staff.
The staff is trained to treat prisoners as animals and to not show any degree of sympathy. There are a very few prison staff who work to undermine the brutality of the guards. A simple smile or just validating the humanity of the inmate can make a big difference. So can reporting abuse by guards or just showing support for inmates who are abused. It is an occupation that rarely attracts people with many hunanitarian values.

Posted by rich | June 19, 2007 7:28 AM

Gee, maybe if people STOPPED COMMITTING FUCKING CRIMES they would not end up in prison. Then the DOC would not need to hire people. Just a thought you know.

Posted by Just Me | June 19, 2007 7:29 AM

Holy shit!! Could Stranger readers be more unfamiliar with the realities of our criminal justice system?!!

Lock them up and throw away the key? They deserve to be there?!

You all probably hate Richard Nixon, but you sure as fuck think like him. Do you, ecce homo and Just me, have any idea what percentage of those people are in for non-violent drug offenses? About 1 in 4. That's a lot. And those incarcerated drug offenders are mostly people of color.

Yet people of color do not make up the majority of drug sellers and users. A combination of racially disparate enforcement by cops and racial discrimination in the courts leads to their incarceration. Just consider this:

Black people make up 15% of drug users, 37% of those arrested on drug charges, 59% of those convicted, and 74% of those sentenced to prison.

Lock em up and throw away the key, right guys?! (If you want a look at how this shit plays out locally, check out the research of UW professor Katherine Beckett.)

And drug charges aren't the only bogus means of locking people up. How about driving with a suspended license? (poor folks can really afford to pay those fines.) Or trespassing poor folks from entire areas and then locking them up if they're found there? You know anything about these practices, ecce homo and Just Me, or are you too busy living in your little bubble of privileged white hipsterism to care how how the brown and black folks are treated by the boys in blue?

Charles is right--there is a PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! Prisons are the economic engines for the small towns in which they're placed. They create jobs and boost those counties' population for re-districting (prisoners are counted as residents). Yet the prisoners cannot vote. So basically, they transfer political power from black & brown communities in the city to white ones in the sticks. And the communities housing the prisons say this more or less straight up:


What really is going on, Just Me and ecce homo, is that our stupid crime hysteria (personified by you) is leading us to lock up people who are not threats, break up their families, make them more dangerous by their time in prison (where they're exposed to a denser, more dangerous version of the violence and drugs and ugliness of the streets, and where they're given no training, because we focus on punishment and not rehabilitation), send them out into society without skills, discriminate against them because of their records and skin color (check out how having criminal record and being black help in a job search--just google "devah pager"), and repeat the cycle again. All so backwoods places like Monroe can maintain their economies and the Republicans can keep their seat numbers up.

ecce homo and Just me: Fuck you.

Posted by holy fucking shit | June 19, 2007 10:04 AM

Bax. I'm a California 4 striker (true story. 2 of them are unsealed juvies and 2 are what are called "wobblers" so I'm actually a free man after I served my last bid 8 years ago) walking the streets of Seattle and while all of my strikes are gang related ADWs (read: I deserved them, sort of...long story) I have served time alongside men who were struck out for stealing a carton of smokes and stealing a meal (no Valjean intended).

Sorry to cloud your facts with real world experience. Suck it.

Posted by Joe Morgan | June 19, 2007 11:51 AM

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Posted by rewq4545 | July 1, 2007 12:53 AM

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