In “13th”, the director of “Selma” draws a line from Appomattox through convict leasing, through lynch law, through the Southern strategy, through mass incarceration, through the commodification of black bodies and black misery by private prison entrepreneurs.
In America, jail and prison payphones are an important source of funding for local jurisdictions. For years, cash-strapped sheriffs and law enforcement officials across the country have signed contracts with third-party vendors to take a cut of the proceeds paid by inmates and their families.
Despite the United States housing 25 percent of the world’s prison population, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton claimed Thursday that America had an “under-incarceration problem,” comparing the failed American police state to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Inmates can be placed by a judge into a for-profit mental health program in a prison and be detained there past the end of the sentence.
The United States locks up a larger proportion of its citizens than any other nation in the world. Mass incarceration has exacted a terrible cost — on state budgets, on black neighborhoods, on economic and social justice.