I understand that Arne Duncan, the worst Secretary of Education in U.S. history, is talking about the alleged school-to-prison pipeline on Sirius talk radio today (Sunday, October 11, 2015).
For decades there has been a myth that a school-to-prison pipeline exists in the United States, and that the public schools are responsible for the exploding prison population.
This is a lie supported by propaganda paid for by the for-profit, autocratic, often fraudulent and inferior corporate education reform movement.
The U.S. had compulsory public education in every state by 1917, but the Prison Pipeline wasn’t built until the Nixon (1969 – 1974) and then Reagan (1981 – 1989) administrations.
- In 1920, the population of the U.S. was 106 million with about 100 thousand in prison and jail (0.09% of the population).
- In 1940, the population had reached 132 million with about 250,000 in prison and jail (0.18%)
- In 1960, the population was up to 180.7 million and the prison population ratio was lower than 1940 (0.13%)
- In 1970, Republican President Nixon declared war on drugs.
- In 1980, the populated was 226.5 million and the prison population had just passed 500 thousand (0.22%).
- By 2000, the population had reached 282.2 million, and the prison population hit 2 million (0.7%).
What caused the growth of the U.S. prison population after 1983 has nothing to do with America’s public schools and everything to do with the fraudulent, corrupt, autocratic, for-profit corporate education reform movement that parallels the growth of the private-sector for-profit prison movement in the U.S. that spends millions annually to lobby government to increase the length of prison sentences and increase the number of crimes that leads citizens, who mostly live in poverty and are illiterate, to prison.
In addition, the The Washington Post reported how for-profit prisons have become the biggest lobby no one is talking about
Federal and state governments have a long history of contracting out specific services to private firms, including medical services, food preparation, vocational training, and inmate transportation. The 1980s, though, ushered in a new era of prison privatization. With a burgeoning prison population resulting from the War on Drugs (In June 1970, President Nixon, another Republican like Reagan, declared this war on drugs) and increased use of incarceration, prison overcrowding and rising costs became increasingly problematic for local, state, and federal governments.
In response to this expanding criminal justice system, private business interests saw an opportunity for expansion, and consequently, private-sector involvement in prisons moved from the simple contracting of services to contracting for the complete management and operation of entire prisons.
The modern private prison business first emerged and established itself publicly in 1984 when the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) was awarded a contract to take over a facility in Hamilton County, Tennessee. This marked the first time that any government in the country had contracted out the complete operation of a jail to a private operator. The following year, CCA gained further public attention when it offered to take over the entire state prison system of Tennessee for $200 million. The bid was ultimately defeated due to strong opposition from public employees and the skepticism of the state legislature. Despite that initial defeat, CCA since then has successfully expanded, as have other for-profit prison companies. – Private Prisons in the United States
The real title of this prison pipeline should be ALL of the following options:
- The Arne Duncan to Prison Pipeline
- The David Coleman to Prison Pipeline
- The Pearson to Prison Pipeline
- The Walton family to Prison Pipeline
- The Bill Gates to Prison Pipeline
- The Eli Broad to Prison Pipeline
- The Koch brothers to Prison Pipeline
- The President Reagan to Prison Pipeline
- The A Nation at Risk to Prison Pipeline
- The G. W. Bush to Prison Pipeline
- The Bill Clinton to Prison Pipeline
- The President Obama to Prison Pipeline
- The for-profit, autocratic often fraudulent and inferior corporate education reform movement to Prison Pipeline.
- The for-profit war to privatize the public sector to Prison Pipeline.
To read more about what the autocratic, for-profit corporate education reform movement has done to build this pipeline to prison, I suggest you read the ACLU’s What is the School-to-Prison Pipeline?
HEY, LET’S BLAME IT ON THE TEACHER AS USUAL
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).
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