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Land Of The Inmate

June 22, 2012 by  

Land Of The Inmate
For private prisons, crime does pay.

The United States, land of the free, is home to a staggering 1.6 million State and Federal prisoners.

That number, recorded in 2010 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, has some people wondering if we live in a Nation of criminals. But the evidence suggests that government largess—and the profiteers who run the privatized American prisons where 128,195 U.S. inmates reside—may have as much to do with incarceration as crime does.

The Times-Picayune in Louisiana recently published an eight-part report detailing how that State incarcerates more people than any other place in the world. One out of 86 adult Louisiana residents live behind bars— that is three times more people than are jailed in Iran and seven times as many as China, the paper reports.

Throughout the series, reporters describe Louisiana prisoners as “vehicles for profit” and explain that powerful prison lobbies have blocked reforms to the State’s multi-million dollar prison industry. While Louisiana may have the most prisoners, it certainly isn’t the only place in the Nation where incarceration is big business.

ProPublica breaks down the numbers in a recent report:

Corrections Corporation of America

66: number of facilities owned and operated by Corrections Corporation of America, the country’s largest private prison company based on number of facilities

91,000: number of beds available in CCA facilities across 20 states and the District of Columbia

$1.7 billion: total revenue recorded by CCA in 2011

$17.4 million: lobbying expenditures in the last 10 years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics

$1.9 million: total political contributions from years 2003 to 2012, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics

$3.7 million: executive compensation for CEO Damon T. Hininger in 2011

The Geo Group, Inc., the U.S.’s second largest private detention company

$1.6 billion: total revenue in year 2011, according to its annual report

65: number of domestic correctional facilities owned and operated by Geo Group, Inc.

65,716: number of beds available in Geo Group, Inc.’s domestic correctional facilities

$2.5 million: lobbying expenditures in the last 8 years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics

$2.9 million: total political contributions from years 2003 to 2012, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics

$5.7 million: executive compensation for CEO George C. Zoley in 2011

The millions the prison-industrial complex spends on lobbying each year is heavily focused on ensuring that medicinal marijuana reform is stalled, and in more recent years has been used to push for stricter immigration laws. The Huffington Post reports that illegal aliens make up the fastest growing segment of the U.S. prison population.

While many Americans may favor harsh laws regarding immigration and drugs, the prison-industrial complex also routinely lobbies for draconian laws across the board. According to a Justice Policy Institute report, corruption of the judicial system can also result.

The extent to which corporate campaign contributions influence elected officials‟ decision-making is a matter of much debate. But in one recent case, a private juvenile correctional facility crossed the line, making outright payments to judges in a clear quid pro quo with tragic results.

In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, two local private youth prisons made illegal payments to two judges totaling over $2.6 million. In what came to be known as the “kids for cash” scandal, the Mid Atlantic Youth Service Corporation paid the judges for sentencing youth to confinement in their two private youth prisons. It is estimated that over 5,000 children appeared before the two judges over the past decade, and half of those who waived their right to counsel were sentenced to serve time in one of the private correctional facilities. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, privately owned corporations operate more than 50 percent of youth correctional facilities in the United States.

The Institute reports that the prison companies are routinely in talks with judges, legislators and law enforcement agencies to encourage policies that drive-up incarceration rates throughout the Nation.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • 4LoveOfGod&Country

    The highlight of every day in every county & state detention facility is “count”. The article fails to mention that the federal government is the source of the “revenue” based on the number of citizens held. Land of the free, indeed.

    • restorefreedom

      Guilty until proven innocent also.

    • Void1972

      If you want to talk facts of the America prison system!

      1 out of every 100 American adult is behind bars, at the cost of $55,000 per inmate!

      If you do your own homework on who runs the American prison system, and the corruption behind our drug enforcement agency, and our central banking system, you will find the puzzle fits perfectly!

      How Screwed up are We?

      God bless America and those of us who fight for her!!!!

  • http://http// sophillyjimmy

    With freedom comes responsibility and when someone commits a crime it affects someone elses freedoms. The more freedom a counrty has the more criminals try to take advantage of their freedoms.
    Statistics are full of shyte, common sense has to prevail when We The People want to live free since most the majority of us only want to live a normal life and not infringe on other peoples rights to the pursuit of happiness.
    If 1.6 million Americans are in federal or state prisons, not counting the many county prisons that means that 150 millions people are following the laws of the land so not incarcerating criminals will surly lead to vigilante justice. The good citizens of America do not want to live in fear and in order not to we will have to take the law in our own hands to ensure that we and our loved ones stay safe from those that want to harm them by being lawless.

    • em vanners

      you are about as dumb as a rock , there are so many laws in this country that the average person probably breaks about an average of fifty laws a day , (obviously mostly unknowingly) so who are you bribing to stay “free” mister smug law abiding “citizen”

      • rockdoc01

        Can you give examples of these fifty laws? Not saying I totally disagree, but examples would help the argument.

      • rockdoc01

        I consider myself an average person and I break one law daily – speed limits. Other than that I don’t violate any laws. I don’t steal, embezzle, dump chemicals into the drain. I pay my taxes, I get permits when I need them. Hmm, I’m really having a hard time finding fifty laws that I have broken today, or even in the 47 years I have been breathing for that matter.

      • Jazzabelle

        Yes, read the book Bob Livinsgston recommended. Its thesis is that Americans commit, on averge, three federal felonies per day, without ever knowing it. And that’s only FEDERAL crimes that are FELONIES. In my view, going to prison in America isn’t a badge of shame anymore. We imprison non-violent people who, in many cases, were proactively trying to follow the laws, and then what do we do with the real criminals? We elect them.

    • Pete Sagi

      Vigilante justice is preferable to further empowering govt. at any level. And the law is already in our hands. True, we have delegated that to so-called professionals, i.e., oinksters and every variety of federal alphabet soup agency specialty oinkster, but just because we have delegated that power doesn’t mean that we don’t also retain it. And that obviously includes defending our own homes, defending defenseless little old ladies who are being attacked by purse snatchers, or offing some crazed shooter in a restaurant who is hell bent on killing everybody in there. It’s a matter of who you would like to see empowered … people or the oinkstablishment.


      • Jazzabelle

        Absolutely, Pete! Right on.

      • Brentha

        Like you, I agree with you – EMPOWER THE PEOPLE! Why should anyone suffer because of the Anti- Gun Activists..(bet they have some type weapon to defend themselves and their families)..
        Give me my God Given Right under our Constitution to Keep & Bear Arms// in fact, I’m for Open Carry..and that is w/o a Permit.

    • wandamurline

      What turly amazes me is that this country thinks nothing of murdering unborn babies on a daily basis and killing millions of animals because they are not wanted or have a home, yet we fret about putting down the animals that are incarcerated. What do you do to a rabid dog? I think most of you know. If a human being becomes a rabid animal that preys on the weaker in our society, then what is wrong with putting them down? I believe in capital punishment and it needs to be done more than it is. Murderers should be put in the electric chair. If more were put to death, I can tell you that the crime rate would plumet. One would think twice before committing a crime that carried the death penalty and a quick trip to the electric chair or needle.

      • Robert Smith

        From wandamruline: “One would think twice before committing a crime that carried the death penalty and a quick trip to the electric chair or needle.”

        Actually it would be a deturent for a very small percentage of murderers. As you defined them yourself, they are like rabid dogs… They aren’t rational, thus the idea of a cime and punishmnet just doesn’t fit.

        However, along with the notion that you present I have my own perspective that I offer for your consideration.

        If an individual has they right (as they certainly do in America) to defend themselves with lethal force when mortally threatened society (NOT GOVERNMENT, there is a difference) should have the same right to end a threat.

        It’s that simple.


      • Rebecca

        Amen. And…I don’t want to hear crap about how Capital Punishment does not deter crime. It absolutely DOES. It keeps that one from doing it again.

      • copakeman

        it is 100% correct, a summary judgement fact, that a peson who has been excuted, will never, ever, be able to effect the lives of innocent people again. why keep these evil people alive, only (parole) to be let loose on society, and commit the same crimes,over and over again. these evil people are not the only ones whose lives are altered by their heineous crimes.

      • Karolyn

        The death penalty does NOT deter crime. Do you seriously believe that criminals stop and think “Hmmm, if I kill my him/her, I’ll get the death penalty, so I better not do it.” Actually, punishment does not stop crime perpetrated by real criminals.

      • Karolyn
      • ChristyK

        I used to be a die hard capital punishment person, but I’ve changed. I didn’t change because I believe that death is an unfair punishment of some of the criminals in prison. I changed because of the cases that an innocent person has been put to death. I would rather not punish 1000 terrible criminals if that would prevent one innocent person from being put to death. That unfair death makes all of the others not worth the cost.

      • ChristyK

        If there was a way to guarantee that not even one innocent person would be put to death then I would support capital punishment.

      • Walt

        Korolyn’s Link says:

        “A recent survey of the most leading criminologists in the country from found that the overwhelming majority did not believe that the death penalty is a proven deterrent to homicide”.

        “Leading criminologists”?….I assume these are the same folks who benefit financially from the perverted legal system that maintains a revolving door for dangerous criminal. Are these the same eminent defenders of rehabitualizing these dangerous animals? It’s all about money, power, ego and career advancement….not about protecting society or the poor schmuck whose wife’s head is blown off or raped in front of her children by these psycopaths, who don’t deserve to live among decent law abiding folks.

        Perhaps these “leading criminologists” should research the crime statistics in Saudi Arabia. Let them try and convince us how horrible
        and uncivilized the Saudis are with their swift justice system.

        While we may disagree with some of their laws regarding women, I don’t quibble with: steal…lose a hand, rape…lose your d..k!

      • Robert Rashbrooke

        I also believe in the death penalty. There are 300 million people living here, ostensibly trying to live lawful lives, and if someone deliberately chooses to break the law and harm/kill someone whilst carrying out that act, he deserves to be removed from society, permanently, but not by locking him/her away and we end up paying for it all.

        The only problem with this argument is that the legal system is so patently corrupt that
        , for instance in Illinois, 50 % of people on death row were found to be INNOCENT of the crime that they were there for, put there by a legal system that worked for its own adavantage rather than upholding the law.

        If we could ensure that the legal system operated non corruptly, by judges, DAs, defense lawyers, et al. then we could utilise death penalties and would not have all this crap about it being more EXPENSIVE to put someone to death for some heinous crime because it takes some 20 years to finally find them unequivocably guilty.

        But once again, people with strong beliefs against capital punishment would hold that it is not right for ANYONE to hold their own belief FOR capital punishment. So we carry on with the mishmash we have got today.

      • Brentha

        I certainly agree with you on this, it is our tax dollars that are feeding, clothing, dental, & medical care..that most of us who are / or try to be Law Abiding Citizens have to pay a considerable amount for these benefits.
        Not only that, they have TV, Recreational Activities, etc.

    • RJ

      You are not very good in math either. Using your numbers every other person in this country is a criminal. clearly you missed the whole point of the article.

  • eddie47d

    The private prison is more inept than the public system and the only way they can survive is on the public dole (taxpayer). We citizens will get it in the shorts no matter what. These private companies like CCA have a 90% rate they negotiate with government officials. The state will guarantee them that percentage in keeping the prisons almost at capacity. If the prison is only at 70% occupancy the state still has to pay CCA the 90% rate. We’ve been gouged again.

    • jopa

      A person doing ten years for weed residue in his ashtray may have to stay longer, perhaps another five years just to keep up the headcount in a private prison.When he goes before the parole board all they have to say is he was a bad boy so we need to keep him longer.The prisoner really won’t have an argument in this case, and the folks running the private prison get to rip off the taxpayer once again.

  • http://liberty Tony

    To Everyone:
    This is a fantastic article. It’s so true that our nation might have the highest incarceration rate in the world. Also, there’s a huge portion of prisoners incarcerated that shouldn’t be. Furthermore, one of the reason our taxes are so high is because of this overbloated prison budget. America needs to end this insane war on drugs ,better education, plus work towards more jobs to end these problems. Thanks!!

  • Jaesun

    How many of the US prisoners are “guilty” of victimless crimes?

  • Pete Sagi

    Bottom line … its the so-called “war on drugs”, followed by every other victimless so-called “crime” that has the prisons stocked with slave labor. I watch prison shows on the tube from time to time, and I always root for the inmates, hoping against hope that they bash the crap out of some guards.


  • Chester

    Pete, I truly wish you could spend some time with some of those inmates you cheer so loudly for. As a general rule, the ones who kick loose like that are the ones you don’t want to know in prison, as they would as soon off you as look at you, and this is before they get to know you, when they are even more apt to want to off you. This is doubly true if you are a somewhat civilized human being who tries to avoid being involved in touchy situations.
    Incidentally, if any of those guards is killed, all the men in that group are looking at murder charges, simply for being involved in something that lead to a law enforcement agent’s death. Check the laws, then take a look at case law on that and see what just being an observer at one of those fracases could cost you.

    • Robert Smith

      Remember the woman who was shot in the fracase but they removed the bullet from her eventually.

      (Thank you Paul Harvey)


  • Ron Kindrix

    What the article did not talk about was the prison industry complex that uses these prisoners as slaves. The owners of the prisons then are able to gather even more money. When you drive by seeing signs directing you to the prison’s location, look and you will notice that there is usually some type of industrial complex nearby.


    • Vigilant

      Oh yes, we should immediately agitate for prisoner unions to ensure they receive a fair wage for their work. Unbelievable comment.

  • Sue

    ‘illegal aliens make up the fastest growing segment of the U.S. prison population.’, Take note all you illegals and GO Home. You break the law to invade our Country,You go to jail! obama can’t save you,he’s all pretend talk to get the Legal Mexican votes. obama’s new Exc.Order is temporary just like He is. 2012 he will be gone and you better be too, or welcome to your new prison home in the USA.

  • Silas Longshot

    This is now entrenched in our society, because of the profits to the prison corporations and the cops themselves. That’s why they routinely violate your 4th amendment ritghts, you know the one about unreasonable search and seizures, by ‘requesting’ a search of every car they stop today. Mostly they’re looking for cash, doesn’t mean squat about anything else but finding cash. If they find drugs, well that’s just bonus brownie points. They get to arbitrarily decide the amount that qualifies as ‘drug money’ that they find on you or in your car. Hundreds of private citizens just doing their business, nothing to do with drugs, have had their cash stolen at gunpoint (try resisting, see if you don’t get taken down at gunpoint), robbery with a badge. Of course you can sue to get it back, but with the built in bias of the county courts, who are hand in glove with these crooked cops, you will spend more than they stole in efforts to get it back, so very few cases ever make it to court.
    Then, who knows how many thousands are in jail for mere posession, just doin’ a little weed, most of society viewing this no worse than drunk driving. But profits for the system will always trump common sense and personal rights.

  • Fideux

    Rather than incarcerate drug pushers, anyone caught selling drugs should be immediately strung up and hanged from the nearest light pole and left there for three days as a reminder to anyone that thinks they might want to sell drugs too. If you set a couple of examples like this around the country, the dope peddlers would maybe take a different and lawful career path. If not, they too will be seen “hanging out” on some street corner. Obviously, sending them to one of our country-club prisons hasn’t proven to be much of a deterrent.

    • Robert Smith

      Just the ticket to make the illegal drug trade even more violent. Instead of racheting up why not relax?

      Put drugs into the same kind of system alcohol (the drug of choice for American business) to keep it away from kids (in theory).

      Remember, drugs were mostly legal 100 years ago and we had problems, but they were few and much farther in between than today’s problems.


    • Jazzabelle

      Fideux wrote: “Rather than incarcerate drug pushers, anyone caught selling drugs should be immediately strung up and hanged from the nearest light pole and left there for three days as a reminder to anyone that thinks they might want to sell drugs too.”

      Can we start with the CIA drug runners?

    • Karolyn

      Are you one of these misguided persons who think the war on drugs is a good thing? The war on drugs creates more criminals. People will never stop using drugs. Man probably has been getting high since he first chewed a leaf that made him feel good. No amount of laws or incarceration will stop it. The biggest problem in this country is that it is one of the most violent countries in the world. When you read some of the posts on this site, it’s no wonder.

    • Karolyn

      This is an excellent article first posted here by DaveH last year that has a very interesting take on “How the War on Drugs is Destroying Black America” from the Cato Institute. I’m sure that if you take the time to read it, you won’t agree; but if you open your mind a little, you might find a kernel of truth to it.

  • Fideux

    Legalizing drugs is a stupid idea because it will not stop crime. Unless you hand the dope out like peanuts at the cocktail hour, people will still steal, maim, and kill to get it. Cars, jewelry, liquor, money, etc.etc. is all legal to posess and use, but people steal these items everywhere, everyday. Legalizing drugs would just put more dope crazed zombies on the streets to run over our kids, create traffic accidents etc. as well as stealing to buy their “legal” dope. Additionally, if it is taxed like some drug proponents suggest, their will be a new “black-market” to circumvent the taxation of the legal drugs. Legalization of dope is a stupid idea that is supported by drug users. If you know someone that is in favor of legalizing drugs, you can bet they are a user themselves.

    • libertarian58

      I’m sure you thought that prohibition was a great idea, even though it was such a colossal failure it had to be repealed. “Demon Weed” was dreamed up to replace “demon Boose” and here we go all over again, billions wasted on “enforcement” and not a dent in the “problem”, but what a great way to build the police state and put in place numerous draconian laws to control us, not to mention the enormous amounts of money to be made under the table by the biggest dope dealer of them all, our own government. Tighten your blinders, then read ‘A Nation Betrayed’ and ‘Called to Serve’ by Bo Gritz.

    • Karolyn

      So, you’re obviously one of these people who thinks that legalizing any drugs will create more users? Drug users will use whether it is legal or not; and people who will never touch the stuff will never touch the stuff no matter what the law says.

      • Vigilant

        “So, you’re obviously one of these people who thinks that legalizing any drugs will create more users?”

        And you, Karolyn, are obviously one of those people who thinks that legalizing any drugs will NOT create more users.

        Both statements are speculative in nature, but the evidence of history goes against your assertions.

        A legitimate rule of thumb has always prevailed in society: any time you legalize or subsidize ANYTHING, you get more of it. OF COURSE it will create more users!

        It has been said that giving up smoking is harder than kicking heroin, the main reason (even with confiscatory taxation) being that tobacco (nicotine) is a legal drug.

        And the argument that bad behavior (alcohol abuse) excuses even more bad behavior (drug abuse) is a nonstarter. There are more than enough traffic deaths due to alcohol as it is, and you want to add still more to the list by augmenting the “crazed driver” list to include those high on dangerous drugs?

        This strange Libertarian idea that drug legalization is purely a matter of individual freedom is ridiculous. Hard drugs NEVER affect just the user, they affect everyone around him/her. And when’s the last time you heard of an alcoholic or smoker robbing or killing someone for their next fix?

        Moreover, the Founders would certainly have agreed that the survival and success of our Constitutional Republic hinges upon a knowledgeable and SOBER electorate. You’re advocating a Huxleyan “Brave New World” Your scenario serves only to further deteriorate and disintegrate a society that has already been lulled into compliance and sloth through the dependencies created by a centralized government.

  • libertarian58

    “Law Enforcement” from the politician/lawyer down to the beat cop has become nothing more than a “business for profit”. Statutory laws put in place to “protect society” are routinely abused for power and profit. Injury, damage, a victim, due process are no longer needed to throw you in jail and steal your property at the whim of any “cop” and the entire “legal” profession is in on the game. Take a look at the weekly arrest report in your local paper and you will see what I mean. 90% are for “victimless crimes” in which no one is injured or damaged, but the “state” collects a handsome “fine”. Welcome to the Police State.

    • Fideux

      So if someone broke into your house and stole every thing you have worked your entire life for (to buy dope, or for whatever reason) would you call the police, or a fellow libertarian? Or would you just blame yourself for having the article that were stolen in the first place. We need laws, the police, penitentiaries, and the enforcement of the death penalty (if for no other reason, it will deter that individule from repeat offenses). Ignoring crime does not make it go away.

      • Jazzabelle

        Libertarian was talking about VICTIMLESS crimes, Fideux. You know, the ones committed by a majority of our prisoners. Obviously, breaking into someone’s house and stealing things is a crime that has a VICTIM. Sheesh, get your head screwed on straight.

      • Fideux

        There is always a victim Zazzabelle; it might only be the soul of the perpetrator. But then, I believe in God. On your planet, maybe you can convince the authorities to throw out or “change” the laws that don’t suit you. Calling me a moron didn’t elevate your opinion. Name calling only serves to diminish the content the of your argument.

      • Jazzabelle

        As opposed to the content of YOUR argument, which is moronic even without the help of name-calling on your part? (What do you call “Zazzabelle,” by the way?)

        And it’s not the government’s job to protect “the soul of the perpetrator” from his own non-violent choices.

  • Fideux

    People have a choice to behave. WOW, what a concept; I hope it catches on!

  • K O’Brian

    I know from experience of false allegation from my son’s divorce. Andrew Thomas, county attorney (who has since been disbared) played with the evidence, with held evidence, and dropped charges after 3 years only to recharge, all the while the judge kept saying “you don’t have a case.” There are people who have been in jail for 5 years who has not gone to trial, the officials keep milking the system and we the people keep paying the taxes.
    Find out who owns the commonaries in the jails and prisons, who owes the business that provides the immates clothes, follow the money. You will find out that many people are innocent, can’t afford lawyers, can’t defend themselves. When defending yourself they force you to attain an attorney who works with the prosecutors and judges, in the mean time taking all you have to draw the procedure out for years. If you take a plea the prosecutors get a commission for not going to trial. They prosecute on hear say and not trying to prove you guilty.

    • Fideux

      Our system is not without faults but, be glad you’re not in China, Iran, Russia, or a host of other countries that deal with losers with way less humanitarian-like penalties. If you don’t like our “Police State”, you’re really not going to like theirs!

      • Jazzabelle

        Which is why we’d like to FIX ours, Fideux, instead of smugly repeating, “We treat OUR prisoners better than Iran and China do!”

        Yeah, pat yourself on the back for that one, moron.

    • Jazzabelle

      By the way, O’Brian, the Supreme Court once ruled that a defendant who represents himself in court can’t be sentenced to prison time. That rule is still valid, but states try to get you to sign that right away without telling you what you’re doing. I would contact to find out how to do it the right way.

  • Jaesun

    Law = A legislative opinion backed by guns. Example: A newborn in the US becomes liable for tax on future income. The newborn has no choice in the matter, he/she is not free to exercise free will.

    As the child grows he/she learns the true nature of government and chooses to ignore tax laws which he/she did not agree to and because he/she doesnot wish to support government violence in any manner. That person is then charged with a crime, convicted and jailed for 5 years.

    Who is the victim of this, so called crime? And, which party is acting immorally, the tax evader or everyone involved in his prosecution and incarceration?

    • Fideux

      So I don’t know… Let’s just create more lawyers and elect more democrats! If you screw people enough, maybe things will straighten out. No nation ever taxed itself to prosperity.
      I would like to see retroactive abortions for all attorneys and politicians; starting with the president!

    • Jazzabelle

      Jaesun, income taxes are voluntary and based on contract. The newborn in your example was entered into the contract by his parents, but he had a chance when he became an adult to repudiate the contract and didn’t. That’s why he goes to jail for violating his contract. has more.

      • Proud to be a Believer

        What do you mean Jazzabelle that income taxes are voluntary??????? What a farst that is, just try not to pay and see what happens however, I would like your response.

      • Jaesun

        The question regarded morality not legality. So, the question remains who acted immorally, the person who chose to not support government by not paying a tax or the government employees who punished him with a prison term for not obeying a legislative opinion?

      • Jazzabelle

        Proud to be a Believer: You have to have a Social Security Number in order to pay income tax. You DON’T have to have a SSN in order to work as a private contractor. Applying for a SSN is voluntary. Ergo….

        Just because you have heard stories about people doing something incorrectly and suffering the consequences, doesn’t mean that lots more people aren’t doing that thing correctly and reaping the benefits.

        If this topic interests you, I would recommend

      • Jazzabelle

        Jaesun wrote: “The question regarded morality not legality. So, the question remains who acted immorally…?”

        If you enter a contract and then violate it, that is immoral. It is breaking your word. So, the person who fails to pay a tax that he has agreed to pay has acted immorally.

        If you are a government employee whose job is to enforce the law, and you have an employment contract that requires you to enforce it, and if there are laws on the books (as there are) that prohibit you from enforcing the law in a selective manner, then you MUST enforce the law; it would be immoral to do otherwise.

        If you are a legislator whose job it is to create laws and statutes, and you have the power to offer contracts to the general public according to which they must pay a tax or face a prison term, and you use your power to enact such a statute, then in my opinion you have acted immorally. Nobody should go to prison for a mere breach of contract.

        So now the question becomes, when both you and the legislator have acted immorally, what is the correct course of action? Do you continue violating your word and acting immorally, meanwhile pointing your finger at the other party who acted immorally? Or do you address your situation such that you can act in accordance with your convictions by not paying taxes AND not violating your word? It is quite possible to arrange your affairs in this manner. Team Law can help. (

      • Jaesun

        You make too many assumptions and are still talking legalities. In order for a contract to be valid both parties must agree to its terms. My subject person never agreed to pay tax on the fruits of his labor. How are his/her actions immoral?

        And you consider government employees who enforce legislative opinion to be moral because its in their job description. Do you think that a cop who kicks in the door of an innocent person and hauls him/her off to jail because his job requires him to do so is acting morally?

      • Jazzabelle

        Jaesun wrote: “You make too many assumptions and are still talking legalities. In order for a contract to be valid both parties must agree to its terms. My subject person never agreed to pay tax on the fruits of his labor. How are his/her actions immoral?”

        Actually, your subject person DID agree to be taxed. That’s my point. When he turned 18 years old, the contract that his parents signed (called an SS-5 form) became binding on him when he acted pursuant to it (such as taking employment). If he had stopped using it by his 18th birthday and then notified the Social Security Administration that he rejected the contract, it would not have been binding on him in the future. But the fact that he accepted the contract by using the benefits provided by the other party as a condition of the contract, requires him to follow through on his end of the contract as well. Morally, you can’t expect someone else to fulfill their end of a contract when you refuse to fulfill yours. Morally, if you don’t want to fulfill your end of the contract, you shouldn’t enter the contract, which you do when you access benefits or services that require the contract to be in place.

        I imagine your objection at this point would be that you didn’t know about the contract when you turned 18, so how can you be bound to it? The answer is that all the terms of the contract are found in the law. As a citizen, it’s your duty to know the law and obey it. Have you ever heard the saying, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse?” That applies here. Since you knew (or should have known) the content of the law and thus the terms of the contract, you have indeed agreed to be bound by the contract when you choose to use its benefits. And, it is immoral to enter a contract (give your word) and then break it.

        I understand that there is often an unwillingness to take responsibility for the contract among people who did not actually know about it when they bound themselves to it. It seems as though, morally if not legally, if you REALLY didn’t know about it then it’s not your responsibility. However, consider that each of us has a moral obligation to follow the laws made by our societies (where the laws don’t conflict with a demand of our religion). A necessary prerequisite to following the law, is knowing the law. If the man in your example had known the law, he could have made a good choice about whether to enter in the contract or not. His failure to do his moral duty (know and obey the law) led him to enter an unwise contract and thus bind himself by it.

        Here is an analogy that might make sense of this. You seem to consider some common police actions to be immoral. Consider that, in our legal system today, if a policeman BELIEVES he is acting in accordance with the law, and he happens to be wrong, he is considered to have acted in “good faith” and he cannot be sued or face any other legal consequences for his actions. But, if he KNEW that his action was illegal, he CAN be sued. Thus, in a situation where two cops do the exact same thing in the exact same circumstance, the one who knew the law can face stiff penalties while the one who was ignorant of the law will get off scot-free. Isn’t that terrible? This policy has hideous effects that make a mockery of the rule of law. Law enforcement officers actually have an incentive NOT to know the laws they are supposed to be enforcing! I’m sure you can imagine the results (or perhaps you’ve heard about some of them in the news–there are plenty of stories). Here’s the point: can you imagine the injustice and chaos that would result if the same rule were applied to everyone? Imagine if someone could enter a contract with you and later, after you had fulfilled your part, sue you and have the contract nullified because he hadn’t read the contract and so didn’t know what was in it! Imagine if someone could steal your car and escape punishment because he didn’t know that was illegal! That’s the way the police operate, and the people are rightfully outraged about it. It’s immoral. Not knowing the laws that apply to your decisions won’t (and shouldn’t) protect you from the results of those decisions. Morally, your agreement to pay taxes SHOULD bind you because you knew, or should have known, what the law would require from you based on your actions.

        All that said, there are plenty of ways to honor your contract (the SS-5 form) without paying taxes. For example, the contract only requires taxes to be paid in certain situations. Most people don’t know that, or else they imagine that it’s illegal to derive income from any type of situation that isn’t covered by the contract. This is a false assumption. Team Law has helped me learn how tax law applies and doesn’t apply, and I would recommend them as a source if you are actually interested in learning how to avoid tax liability while still honoring your agreements and contracts. If it were me, I’d start with .

        The foregoing might answer all your questions, but since you asked this one too, I’ll answer it. You wrote: “And you consider government employees who enforce legislative opinion to be moral because its in their job description. Do you think that a cop who kicks in the door of an innocent person and hauls him/her off to jail because his job requires him to do so is acting morally?”

        In the exact situation you describe, the officer’s only moral choice is to act in accordance with his word (his employment contract). However, my guess is that a variety of immoral choices led the officer in your example to that place, kicking down the door of an innocent. For example, he knowingly entered an employment contract that would require him to enforce immoral laws in a consequence-free environment where he would be incentivized to NOT know what the law requires of him. If he wants to fix this situation, he could always quit his job and then his employment contract would no longer be binding on him. That would be a perfectly moral choice. So, is the policeman culpable, even though he has acted morally in that one specific situation? Yes.
        (Of course, it’s also possible that an officer in the same situation could be acting immorally by kicking down the door; for example, if he KNEW that the person was innocent, or if he KNEW that he didn’t have probable cause; etc. But those things weren’t addressed in your question. In most cases, officers who kick down the doors of innocent people don’t KNOW that the people are innocent.)

        If you have any more questions, I’d be glad to continue this conversation. I think you will find more answers by following the link I posted, however. Team Law also has a solution for police kicking down your door, and it’s a doozy. :-) I can’t wait until I get to a place, personally, where I can implement it.
        (Nothing I post on this forum constitutes legal advice.)

      • Jaesun

        Your argument seems to be based on your presumption that my subject had a SS card. His parents did not sign him up and he had no SS number. He was a self-employed auto mechanic and only accepted cash for his services. He harmed no one and his refusal to pay tax was based on his abhorrence of government violence.

        I could continue to give more aspects of the subjects condition but I feel they would be wasted on you. You seem to exempt government from the moral obligations to which everyone else is held.

        Presumed contracts do not exist except in the minds of delusional government supporters. I doubt that anyone, even those who have SS #s, have agreed to tax laws.

        The reality of the situation is that government forces legislative and bureaucratic opinions on people at the point of a gun. If anyone in the private sector tried to do what government does on a daily basis they would be labeled as criminals and imprisoned.

        Morality’s definition does not come with a double standard clause. Morality does not distinguish between people in government and people in the private sector. It applies to everyone equally. Laws are enforced through the initiation of force or the threat of force. Those who have harmed no one can be subject to government violence. That is immoral, at least to any sane person.

      • Jazzabelle

        Jaesun: You’re right, I do presume that your subject is the holder of a SS card. That is because only the holder of a SS card is likely to be imprisoned for a failure to pay taxes, unless he simply refused to mount an intelligible defense. That is because it is literally impossible to file an income tax return without putting a taxpayer identification number of some sort on it. (For a US citizen, that would be a SSN.) Filing the SS-5 form is voluntary; it cannot be compelled; therefore, it would be impossible for your subject to file a tax return and unlawful for the government to force him to do so. All of this makes me wonder: is your example the story of an actual person, or are you making up the details as you go along?

        You wrote: “His parents did not sign him up and he had no SS number. He was a self-employed auto mechanic and only accepted cash for his services.”

        If this is the totality of his legal situation, then in my understanding, he is not liable for income taxes because he is not a taxpayer. Only taxpayers (persons that are identified by SSNs or other TINs) have to pay income taxes; in fact, only taxpayers CAN pay income taxes.
        Of course, there may have been more to his situation than you or I know; other contracts with government can create tax liabilities as well. For example, there may have been a business license, or a marriage license with someone that was a SS cardholder who was his general partner.

        I understand that it can be tricky to avoid these “entangling alliances” with the government, and I do think that the government takes advantage of the fact that not very many people bother to learn the law as they should, or even read the contracts they enter before they sign them. The bottom line remains that we are each morally responsible for our own conduct, and that includes reading contracts before we agree to them, AND knowing the laws of our country at least well enough to obey them. None of this has anything to do with “presumed contracts.” (I don’t think that’s a legal term, but I’m guessing that you mean a contract that is entered by not opting out. Is that right?) That sort of thing has no place in tax law, and I agree it would be unethical in this context (what we know of it). However, I find it hard to believe, given what you’ve shared, that such a contract could be invoked.

        Contrary to your presumption, I do not think the government, or any of its agents, should be held to any different standard than anyone else. My example involving the police and “good faith” was not intended to endorse this practice but rather to point out its unjust effects, as an argument for why it’s a bad idea and would be an even worse idea on a larger scale.

        I must point out that you are incorrect about nobody agreeing to tax laws. I find that virtually everybody I talk to on this subject believes that the personal income tax is necessary for our government to function. I disagree with that notion, but the fact is that most people, even staunch conservatives, think it’s foolish to talk about doing away with income taxes. Of course, nobody likes paying them, and most people probably WOULDN’T pay them if they weren’t contractually bound to do so. That seems somewhat hypocritical to me; but the fact is, if people really were opposed to the income tax, then it would quickly be abolished.

        You wrote: “If anyone in the private sector tried to do what government does on a daily basis they would be labeled as criminals and imprisoned.”

        You are right about that, and I definitely think that situation needs fixing. When it comes to offering contracts, though, anybody can do that and have the government use its force to compel performance in accordance with the contract. That is one of the few powers specifically delegated to the government in the Constitution.

        You wrote: “Laws are enforced through the initiation of force or the threat of force. Those who have harmed no one can be subject to government violence. That is immoral, at least to any sane person.”

        I agree with your assertions, as did the American Founders and the whole tradition of natural law philosophy upon which our legal system is based. Central to that system is the ability, the fundamental right, of each person to enter contracts of choice. If you have entered a contract by which you agree to be arrested and imprisoned if you violate the contract, there is nothing in law or morality that can save you from that fate if you violate your word. I know it doesn’t seem fair that a non-violent offense can lead to incarceration; but the bottom line is that most people agree to this when they ought to know better. The solution isn’t to complain about it, but rather to protect yourself by studying foundational law (it’s much easier than most people think) and then looking at the contracts you’ve entered to see if you really want to be in them. If you don’t, there’s usually a way to fulfill the terms of the contract and thus end the contract and its controls over you. If you do that, you will simultaneously have fulfilled your moral obligation to know the law well enough to follow it. I have experienced great rewards by following this course, and I expect that the more I learn, the more empowered I will be to live my life in the way of my choosing, without fear of government thuggery. I highly recommend this course. The links I posted would be a good place to start, but everyone learns differently, and you need to find a method that helps you meet your specific goals. I wish you good luck, whether or not you choose to align your legal situation with your moral convictions.

        (Nothing I post constitutes legal advice.)

  • Ron

    Excellent! Thank you for pushing this story ahead.

    Here in Oklahoma we lock up more women than any other place ON EARTH. The majority are for minor drug offenses so that prosecutors/politicians can get re-elected as “get-tough-on-crime” heroes–making it more difficult to find space for genuinely dangerous violent criminals. It’s bankrupting us, but it’s rolling in the profits to the Prison-Industrial Complex–who then re-invest the money in lobbying for tougher crime legislation and bankrolling the campaigns of politicians that will do their bidding. (Thanks, Citizens United.)

    “Tougher laws”=more customers. American citizens are becoming the cash cows in yet one more Corporate scam to fleece us coming and going–and the resulting overcrowded, dangerous prisons mean that a minor offense and a crappy lawyer can send you for YEARS to something that looks a lot like the old fashioned religious version of hell–dangerous to the inmates and dangerous to the near-minimum-wage guards who have to work there.

  • Dale on the left coast

    “One out of 86 adult Louisiana residents live behind bars— that is three times more people than are jailed in Iran and seven times as many as China, the paper reports.”
    And why do you suppose that is? Because in Iran and China if you cross the autorities you likely wind up dead . . . you don’t take up any space in the institution then.
    The analogy is nonsense, just like the whole report. The vast majority of these incarcerated folks have broken the law. If you don’t like the laws . . . change them.
    Jailed Illegals . . . lol . . . why not do like the Euros . . . eliminate the border . . . this would make them all legal in a stroke of a pen . . . change the name to the United States of Mexico . . . the Obamambots would love it.
    The incarceration rate has increased and the Education Rate has fallen . . . creating dumber Americans creates MORE CRIME . . . the real criminals are the NEA and the incompetent Teachers Unions.

  • Jazzabelle

    OK Dale….so if I violated a senseless law that I didn’t know about, and it didn’t hurt anyone, I should be grateful that I’m in prison instead of dead? (offensive comment removed)

  • rick

    well, let’s see, we got an undocumented illegal alien as POTUS, and every criminal politician, all of em, fiercely protecting him. sheriff joe and his iinvestigators are ignored by all media and those criminals just mentioned, yet the prisons are full?? WTF is up with that?

  • Jack Crawford

    The left is always blaming ‘profits’ for everything. This doesn’t befit a web site dedicated to personal liberty. Notice that only a few hundred thousand criminals are in the 2 largest private prison systems while the total number of prisoners is almost 2 million. It is mostly drug users and others convicted of victimless crimes that clog up the jails. It is our damn non-objective laws that are to blame for this awful state of affairs.

  • Karolyn

    This is disgusting! I heard an interview on NPR about the Louisiana situation where incarceration is big business. Even people who commit small crimes get long terms because it pays.

    • Ron

      Yep. Another NPR report from a few years ago told about the foster care system in New Jersey being privatized, and the company running it found an old county jail that was in disuse and converted it to a foster care home. For their “safety” it was reasoned that it was more secure to lock the bars on the children in their “rooms” at night. One 11-year old became so depressed at being in a children’s prison that he ended up hanging himself from sprinkler fixture in the middle of the cell ceiling. The company’s cost-saving solution to minimize future suicides? Put a guard cage around each sprinkler head so the kids couldn’t tie off on it in the future.

  • ridingmare

    King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
    If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

    1 Pet. 3:18-20,
    “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;
    19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison,
    20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.”

  • Ron

    Here’s an interesting follow-up commentary to the above:

  • Don Reed

    Our prisons are full due to plea barganing and life sentences. Drugs, DUIs, and sex crimes of some level are major elements in many of the crimes. The education level is often a prime factor behind the elements.

    Some prosecutors can get into a personal vendetta, like trying to ban or control all guns, no matter if the gun was actually used. Legal terms such as assault have been changed in meaning. If a person is caught in what appears to be an illegal act and becomes scared he can aid in assault charges to be filed against the intended victim, even if he is not hurt. The victim can be senenced to a number of years, if a gun was involved.

  • Jakki

    Crime is rampant in the united states and the # of incarcerated probably should be higher. The key word is illegal. While the rest of the citizens pay taxes and the government turns a blind eye, drugs proliferate and crime increases. Open your eyes to the root of the problem.

  • ardie

    Makes me wonder how Sheriff Joe still runs the tent & grows the food there to feed prisoners to keep down costs. Maybe, this is part of reason Holder wants to shut it down. Lobbyists at work.

    • jopa

      Joe’s gardens are more of a showpiece than an actual way of feeding the prisoners.What his garden produces in one year would be eaten in two days by the prisoners.It is also a good way to keep the prisoners busy. you know what they say about idle minds.

    • truesoy


      Sheriff Joe belongs in prison himself.


  • Oldbutnotadumbbutt2012

    Russia has a higher rate than the U.S.has!!!(both were once Super powers!!The thing with America is ,we don’t know when ,or how to keep out of wars.You can’t train men and women how to kill,and then expect them to adjust to civilian life again without problems.This is the price we’ve had to pay for being a Super Power!!!!God Help US!!!

  • truesoy


    It is not often that I find myself agreeing with you, but this time I must.
    It is unconscionable for a society to accept and promote the legalization of ‘human trafficking’, for this is exactly what we’ll get from a system that treats people as a commodity. This is what a ‘privatized prison system’ leads to.
    It is a system from which politicians and enterprenaurs derives their fortune while aliniatinga larger and larger sector of the population until when the day comes that the fabricof society will be totally destroyed. And then what?.
    This is capitalism ran amok, and that eventually will be in total control of the government. A government that is suppose to be for the people and by the people.
    You know, there is the danger of many laws being enacted fueled by the profits it will generate from the prison system.
    Scary, but it seems no one in a position to stop it is willing to do so.


  • Rick

    Do not steal the government hates the compition!!

  • Oldbutnotadumbbutt2012

    No one person,or small group of people ,can fix our economy,or bring it back to its former level.It will take a Massive sweeping out of Congress ,before anything good can take place.Just remember On Nov.2012,we the people will have a chance of doing just that.anyone,that has served two terms or more,rather they are Demo’s or Republicans,should be votted out of office!!!!

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  • wdharris2

    unless we start pushing back, it is only going to get worse


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