The definition of conspiracy is “an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons.” The word is used daily in state and federal courtrooms across the country to convict countless defendants in America’s famously failed War on Drugs.
Anyone who has faced a federal conspiracy indictment knows the government has a higher than 90 percent conviction rate, which is why 95 percent of federal defendants plead guilty to receive less prison time. In other words, once you’ve fallen into their hands, your case is pretty much open and shut.
Drug laws, combined with “three strikes” and “truth in sentencing” legislation have resulted in the troubling statistics we have all heard too many times: One out of three black men will be incarcerated, on probation or on parole in his lifetime — and the fastest growing prison demographic currently is black women, who make up half of all women in prison and are eight times more likely than white women to serve time. To add insult to injury, 80 percent of these women are mothers.
Folks who simply look at the data on the surface are eager to paint black people as having a greater propensity to break the law, but when the layers of conspiracy are revealed, it becomes quite clear that an evil, treacherous and surreptitious plan is in place to ensure that our youngsters do not grow into men and women who will compete for college seats and future jobs.
It is no accident that America currently imprisons a greater percentage of its population than any other country on Earth. That’s right. No Islamic regime, fascist dictatorship or “Godless” communist country on the planet locks up as many of its citizens as the United States — and the majority of American prisoners are nonwhite.
The growth of the prison industry represents society’s “need” to build and operate more prisons to house the convicted, and it is lucrative. As laws have been enacted to ensure that the prison population has grown at a staggering rate since 1975, growing right alongside it is an industry of private prison owners whose bank accounts bulge when our sons and daughters are convicted of crimes.
Just this year, Pennsylvania Judge Mark Ciavarella was convicted of 12 out of 39 charges, including racketeering, money laundering, and conspiracy for accepting $1 million in kickbacks from privately owned facilities in exchange for mandating jail time for juvenile defendants. For many of the kids, some who spent years locked up, it was their first time in trouble. One kid went to jail for publishing a website that was insulting to a middle school administrator.
Stories like that make it a frightening reality that some in the “justice” system can be bought with bribes, and equally disturbing is the fact that America’s prisoners represent a captive workforce whose labor can be exploited with little complaint from the masses. The average American gives a shoulder shrug to what happens to a convict, and cares less if they are paid pennies a day for their labor. “So what if a criminal is made to work to help pay his or her debt to society?” many will ask. “Isn’t that what prison is for?”
For years prison labor was legally unavailable to private sector companies, to avoid unfair competition, but this has changed thanks to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) its Prison Industries Act, and a little-known federal program known as PIE (the Prison Industries Enhancement Certification Program). This means more and more manufacturing jobs that have been available to workers in the private sector will be moved behind prison walls, creating more chronic joblessness and, ultimately, more prisoners.
What few of us have really understood is that there is a network of organizations working behind the scenes to make sure it remains legal to imprison and then exploit those who fall into the criminal justice system’s web.
Educate yourself about ALEC, PRIDE, PIE and other organizations conspiring to take your freedom. This is no time to remain ignorant about what is happening behind the scenes.