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For-Profit Prisons Are 'Legal Human Trafficking'

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Sponsor: The Veterans Site

Stand up for human rights and ban for-profit prisons in New Mexico.


Since the country's first for-profit prison opened in Tennessee in 1984, it has been joined by hundreds more. The number of individuals incarcerated by for-profit prisons has also seen a sharp increase, growing in the U.S. by 1,600% between 1990 and 2005 1.

Private prisons now hold about 11 percent of the nation's 193,000 federal prisoners. In New Mexico alone, nearly half of the state's entire prison population is incarcerated by for-profit prisons 2.

Many of these prisoners face a struggle on top of their imposed sentences, as basic standards of health, safety, and human decency remain largely unregulated. In one case, a prisoner told medical staff that he was having trouble breathing. He was refused immediate care and told to fill out a written request for an appointment. Moments later, he was dead3.

With critical healthcare services intentionally delayed or denied in this manner, prisoners in for-profit prisons are dying from untreated HIV, untreated cancer, suicide, and heart attacks and seizures 3.

For-profit prisons are motivated by profit, not the eventual reintegration of their prisoners, and certainly not the basic human rights of those inmates. Any money saved by cutbacks, no matter the effect on the prison population, is counted as revenue for these corporations.

Meanwhile, nearly one in four black males born today can expect to be imprisoned during their lifetime. And more than 69% of black men who drop out of high school will end up incarcerated. Since 2016, the Trump administration has also targeted migrant detainees with greater penalties, more time in prison and higher profits for private prisons 4.

In effect, the for-profit prison system is turning incarcerating minorities into a revenue stream.

The corporations that run for-profit prisons lobby for stronger enforcement efforts, less leniency in conviction and parole standards and criminalization of activities associated with lower socio-economic populations 5.

Humans are not a commodity. To counter this trend, we need prison reform, not stronger penalties that unjustly target vulnerable populations. Twenty-two states across the U.S. have so far banned for-profit prisons, and more are voting on similar measures in the coming months 6.

Sign the petition below and send a message to Hector Balderas, New Mexico Attorney General, to put people before profits and ban for-profit prisons today!

  1. Tara Joy, Wesley Anargus (2 February 2018), "The Problem with Private Prisons."
  2. Carl Takei, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Trone Center for Justice and Equality (12 August 2016), "End Prisons-for-Profit."
  3. Hauwa Ahmed, Center for American Progress (30 August 2019), "How Private Prisons Are Profiting Under the Trump Administration."
  4. Kara Gotsch and Vinay Basti, The Sentencing Project (2 August 2018), "Capitalizing on Mass Incarceration: U.S. Growth in Private Prisons."
  5. Catherine Kim, Vox (1 December 2019), "Private prisons face an uncertain future as states turn their backs on the industry."
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The Petition:

Dear Hector Balderas, New Mexico Attorney General,

Americans are being sold for profit to private prison systems, and at a much higher rate in Nw Mexico than anywhere else in the Unites States. This "legal human trafficking" must end now.

For-profit prisons now hold about 11 percent of the nation’s 193,000 federal prisoners. In New Mexico alone, nearly half of the state's entire prison population is incarcerated by private prisons. Many of these prisoners face a struggle on top off their imposed sentences, as basic standards of health, safety, and human decency remain largely unregulated.

Meanwhile, nearly one in four black males born today can expect to be imprisoned during their lifetime. And more than two-thirds of black men who drop out of high school will end up incarcerated. Since 2016, the Trump administration has also targeted migrant detainees with greater penalties, more time in prison and higher profits for private prisons.

For-profit prisons are motivated by profit, not the eventual reintegration of their prisoners, and certainly not the basic human rights of those inmates. Any money saved by cutbacks, no matter the effect on the prison population, is counted as revenue for these corporations.

In effect, the for-profit prison system is turning incarcerating minorities into a revenue stream.

This is unacceptable. Humans are not a commodity.

To counter this trend, we need prison reform, not stronger penalties that unjustly target vulnerable populations. Twenty-two states across the U.S. have so far banned for-profit prisons, and more are voting on similar measures in the coming months.

I demand you rescind support of for-profit prisons and detention centers and ban them from our great state.

Sincerely,

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Signatures: