Why Getting Rid of the Prison Industrial Complex is So Hard

By Mark Naison

Just think.

If we ended the Drug War, a third of the prisons in the US would have to be closed;

many towns would lose their major employer;

tens of thousand of middle class jobs would be lost ( as police officers and prison Guards);

companies like ATT would lose their supply of cheap labor;

and investors in private prisons would see the value of the investment fall precipitously.

If any one wonders why we keep arresting and jailing huge numbers of people, most of them Black and Brown youth, for non violent drug offenses, consider how many people profit from this cruel and misguided policy. If the bodies stop entering into the system, the jobs and profits will dry up and some rural communities will turn into ghost towns. In short, getting rid of the Drug War may be almost as difficult as it was to get rid of Slavery and Jim Crow.

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