Innocence Doesn’t Matter in the American Punishment System

This isn’t news to anybody who has paid attention to the ongoings of the so-called justice system in the United States. The system isn’t about justice, it’s about punishing anybody and everybody:

From Aug. 21 until Oct. 12, Teresa Culpepper was locked in the Fulton County Jail.

And all that time she insisted she was not the woman police wanted for throwing hot water on Angelo Boyd — a man she had never met, a man who said he had never met her either.

At any time during those 53 days, the various entities in Atlanta’s and Fulton County’s justice systems could have saved her from the cracks she had fallen through.

But day after day they ignored protestations that “you’ve got the wrong person,” something most of them hear all the time.

Even with things that “didn’t add up,” police and prosecutors moved forward with a case against Culpepper. The case continued even though Boyd told police and the Fulton District Attorney’s Office several times Culpepper was not the woman who attacked him.

Even though the victim specifically said Culpepper wasn’t his attacker the case against her was pursued. Although my next statement is based purely on conjecture I have to believe there is some reason the state continues to pursue cases against obviously innocent individuals, and I believe that case is to keep the state’s slave labor entity, Federal Prison Industries, or UNICOR, stocked with laborers.

People often complain about privatizing prisons because the private entities controlling the prisons are interested in seeking profits and therefore try to exploit the prison force as cheap labor. What these people don’t realize is that the federal government does the exact same thing through it’s wholly-owned corporation UNICOR.

Under federal law the federal government must source all materials produced by UNICOR through UNICOR unless they are given permissions by UNICOR to seek a third-party supplier [PDF]:

The question of whether UNICOR is unfairly competing with private businesses, particularly small businesses, in the federal market has been and continues to be an issue of debate. The debate has been affected by tensions between competing interests that represent two social goods — the employment and rehabilitation of offenders and the need to protect jobs of law abiding citizens. At the core of the debate is UNICOR’s preferential treatment over the private sector. UNICOR’s enabling legislation and the Federal Acquisition Regulation require federal agencies, with the exception of the Department of Defense (DOD), to procure products offered by UNICOR, unless authorized by UNICOR to solicit bids from the private sector. While federal agencies are not required to procure services provided by UNICOR they are encouraged to do so. It is this “mandatory source clause” that has drawn controversy over the years and is the subject of current legislation.

What a beautiful little scam they have going on there. Not only are they able to exploit the prisoners but they also control the laws that determine who the prisoners will be. In other words the federal government has a vested interest in maintaining a large prison population so it can keep itself stocked with cheap goods and services. I’m sure many states have similar programs to UNICOR and that would give them justa s much vested interest in ensuring a large prison population is maintained. Nothing screams conflict of interest like an entity in charge of punishing individuals also reaps great rewards for punishing individuals.