Mississippi’s prison town are in danger of collapse, thanks to tiny reforms in the War on Drugs

mostlysignssomeportents:

Towns in Mississippi and other Tea Party-ruled states with large (often private) prison industries are totally reliant on state/fed funding transfers to local prisons for cash and jobs, forced prison labor to provide local services for free, and War on Drugs arrests and minimum sentencing to fill those jails. The first tiny steps toward criminal justice reform have eroded the underpinnings of the whole system, leaving the towns facing collapse.

Increasing vacancy rates in these prisons mean less revenue (and less free, forced labor), but the counties and towns still have to keep up payments on the bonds they floated to raise the money to build their prisons.

Meanwhile, “fiscally responsible” states run by slash-and-burn Tea Party governors have cut services and transfer payments (except the per-prisoner/per-diem payments), eroding the towns’ infrastructure (see also), leaving the towns in a state of absolute precarity.

http://boingboing.net/2016/07/17/mississippis-prison-town-are.html

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