The “New Plantation Economy”
In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared an all out “War on Drugs”. In 1984, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) was contracted by the state of Tennessee to operate a prison facility in Hamilton, Tennessee. This marked the first time that a government allowed the private operation of a prison facility. While this seemed to be a gift by relieving tax payers of the burden of funding another prison, what it ushered in was the opportunity to reinvent the plantation economy though another form of cheap labor exploiting many to benefit few. Legislation passed under the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administration, seemingly unrelated, opened the opportunity to access to a consistent source of this cheap labor, and that source was through “realizing” Nixon’s “War on Drugs.” Soon privately operated prisons began popping up all over the country and began outsourcing prison labor for profit. These companies began supporting lobbyist groups such as The American Legislative Exchange Council, who lobby in Washington to pass legislation such as the “Three Strikes Law” and the 100 to 1 sentencing for possession of crack vs. cocaine, which is obvious minority discrimination that gets more and more minorities in jail and keep them there longer. With the substantial increase of minority population in America’s “corrections & rehabilitation facilities”, does any of this seem like a coincidence to you?!?!?!