Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How the marketplace contributes to the prison industrial complex.

The United States has the highest population of prisoners in the world, yet it's touted as "free." One must understand the statistical significance, however. There are over three hundred million people in the U.S. It's too easy to get into trouble because it's such a free country.

I was watching a documentary on human trafficking in the U.K. and noticed that the Brits have color high-definition video surveillance equipment, where as U.S. police have horrible grainy black-and-white, low resolution video equipment for their patrol car dash-cameras and other surveillance equipment. What is up with that?

Well first it guarantees a higher frequency of arrests in the U.S. because with a grainy image, you can pick up any similar-looking homeless person and send them to prison, as long as a jury can be convinced, which should be easy because homeless people can only afford public defenders, and what good are they? If the homeless people who look like the perps in the security video aren't noticed as missing, the state will get a certain amount of federal funding for the warm body.

One might even be able to use the same video twice in two different court-rooms for two different trials. why not? Dead people vote in this country, why should we expect anything better?

Why would the U.K. splurge on high quality video surveillance equipment? They must have different incentives. They probably look at criminal behavior as a psychological or neurological issue that should be treated, so they go to the trouble of actually finding the real perpetrator and treating him or her, rather than just caging criminals up for show in America like a zoo, then the captors puff up their chests, strutting and bragging about how great they are at catching "bad guys."

The marketplace does not like to pay taxes, yet they create cheap crappy surveillance equipment because the government won't spend the money for the good stuff. State and local governments like the better odds of arresting someone, anyone so they can get more federal dollars for their prison population.

If the marketplace would stop making crappy grainy black-and-white video surveillance equipment, and start making only high definition full-color video equipment, the government would be forced to use it to find the actual criminals. This would drastically reduce the prison population, reducing the flow of tax money to the prison system, and divert some money to actually figuring out why people commit crimes, so they can be properly treated.

Ultimately, taxes should go down and government should shrink.