Private Prison Company Celebrates Black History Month -- Wait, What?!

We can honor Dr. King's legacy by embracing his dream of equality for all people – regardless of race, creed or color. We can also make a decision to be of service – to take actions that improve our communities and, ultimately, our society.

—Damon Hininger, President and CEO, Corrections Corporation of America

That quote comes from a short message from Mr. Hininger entitled, "Celebrating Black History Month." It's a fine sentiment that would be unobjectionable but for the fact that it's utterly incompatible with the fundamental mission of the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), which profits from the incarceration of over 80,000 men and women each day, whom they variously describe as a "revenue stream" and "unique investment opportunity."

Nowhere in Mr. Hininger's message is it mentioned that 38 percent of CCA's "revenue stream" consists of black men and women, or that his company spends millions of dollars each year to influence campaigns and lobby elected officials to keep that revenue stream flowing into CCA's prisons. His message is also silent on the tragic realities that result from the laws and practices that make his business possible:

Indeed, there is nothing about the modern criminal justice system that promotes equality for all people. As of 2004, more African American men were disenfranchised by felon disenfranchisement laws than in 1870, the year the Fifteenth Amendment was passed to prohibit laws that explicitly deny the right to vote on the basis of race. Spending time in prison means a lifetime of higher unemployment, lower income, and minimal social mobility; because such a high percentage of black men are incarcerated, we're actually seeing widening racial income inequality. These are the consequences of CCA's business.

What's most unsettling about Mr. Hininger's missive is that it's so completely unconscious of the reality that his company supports and depends upon a system of mass incarceration that has devastated the black community, and that has done more than anything since Jim Crow to perpetuate a racial caste system in America. CCA might celebrate Black History Month, but no part of Black History Month celebrates CCA.

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Anonymous

In a capital case can the jury only be composed of people who believe in the death penalty? Because in East Baton Rouge La in a capital cases If you do not believe in the death penalty you are excluded from the jury pool. I feel that is stacking the jury.

Anonymous

In a capital case can the jury only be composed of people who believe in the death penalty? Because in East Baton Rouge La in a capital cases If you do not believe in the death penalty you are excluded from the jury pool. I feel that is stacking the jury.

Anonymous

I was in Business as a Medicaid provider for Four year when the state of Louisiana put in a new policy requiring some provider to have a line of credit. I have two questions about this policy. 1. Should the providers already in business be grandfathered in. 2. Why all Medicaid providers are not required to have a line of credit. I feel like the home and community based providers was targeted because they were people of color.

John Franklin Mason

Speaking of Prisons and Black History General Motors produced and sold over ten million cars from 1977 to 1990 using design conceived and drawn by yours truly, a Black Man, while I was incarcerated in Prison.

General Motors got the designs at a steal. Prison inmates and Staff were the first to witness and critique those designs used on Cadillac's. Buick's. Oldsmobile's and Chevrolet's.

Dr. George Bush of Northwood University witnessed and copied those drawing in person at Marquette Branch Prison in upper Michigan.

Anonymous

Lets just arrest more white people then. Is that what you're trying to say? There's a reason someone is behind bars, no matter the race. You can't lock someone up for no reason at all. Cry me a fucking river.

Anonymous

Don't blame the prison system for its citizens... blame its citizens for being there.

Anonymous

Don't blame the prisons... blame the criminals.

Chuck Jagoda

While I am not a fan of the imprisonment of black prisoners or the CCA, I must take issue with the reasoning in the last paragraph. These CCA cruelty-marketers didn't design the system of black incarceration. The just make a good buck off of it. They may not actually care that their revenue stream is mostly black and Hispanic. They are just good profiteers on the war on black people. Do they do things like try to get prisoners to be found guilty of new offenses so they (CCA) will have more work? Do they reject programs that reduce recidivism? I wouldn't be surprised. But all we can convict them of so far is profiteering on the war on blacks. Which is pretty bad--unless they can show that they take actions to remediate, improve, or in any way alleviate the suffering of those victims of the new Jim Crow.

Anonymous

This article is so true, the powers that control this country have set an invisible lab right in our Republic through unconstitutional laws and regulations. When the Government(puppets) has to set new laws to comply with the Constitution of the United states; For this instance Slavery, they always create laws that actually enslave through pseudo-reasonablility. Schools for the last hundred years have taught ignorant views of history to there children. Hitler even said, "Let me control the textbooks and I will control the state." I remember back in High School history was such a script like someone had plucked it out of there head mixing truth and fiction, like in a movie or book. Why would we believe the one thing that our founders told us over and over and over again never to trust or let become what it has today. Lets just say I am wrong and there is no conspiracies or people trying to gain world domination. How could our nation, the only beacon of freedom to the rest of the world be shadowed by a government which conducts constitutionally illegal operations domestically on it's own citizen's and hardly ever gets reported on tax payer funded mainstream media? If it does somehow appear on MSNBC or CNN you will see nothing but certified liars hyping massive misinformation to the public and while all along changing crucial details throughout the month completely over reporting the situation to get it into more mentally ill peoples brains that this is the place to go for big attention. Cause that is what all the mass shooters had in common they wanted huge attention and the fact that they were all on Serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. I mean come on these people are engaging in organized crime we need to take action peacefully and arrest these traitors and make them stand trial for there crimes.

Anonymous

The sad thing about this is that many of our black "leaders" are cosigning this or stand idly by and do nothing (i.e., NAACP, Jesse Jackson, Bennie Thompson, etc.)The sad thing about this is that many of our black "leaders" are cosigning this or stand idly by and do nothing (i.e., NAACP, Jesse Jackson, Bennie Thompson, etc.)

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