Tag Archives: prison industrial complex

Alabama Prisons Face Chronic Issues

Fact: Alabama’s prisons have grown 840% since 1977. The state population has grown 23%.

Fact: In 1995, Alabama briefly re-introduced the chain gang for the first time in America in 30 years, before dropping the practice amid criticism and court challenges.

Fact: In 2002, the U.S. Justice Department ordered Alabama to stop chaining inmates to hitching posts, a widespread practice.

Fact: Alabama spends 1 of every 4 dollars in the state’s General Fund on prisons.

Source: Alabama’s Prison Problems, Al.com


LA County Approves $2 Billion Jail; Majority of Cells Designated for Mentally Ill

Fact: Los Angeles County recently approved a $2 billion project for a new 4,860 bed county jail to be built by a private contractor. 

Fact: 3,260 of the beds – 67 percent – are intended for those suffering from mental illnesses. 

Fact: About 75% of inmates with mental illnesses are re-incarcerated into L.A. county jails – almost four times the rate of comparable cities, like Miami, which has a recidivism rate among the mentally ill of 20%.

Fact: In L.A. county, it costs $20,412/year to support a person with mental illness in a housing program. 

Fact: In L.A. county, it costs about $60,000/year to incarcerate a person with mental illness. 

Source: L.A. County Jail Plan is a $2 Billion Blunder That Embraces Incarceration, Not Treatment, for Mentally Ill, LA Weekly. 

Philadelphia School District Employs 450 Full-Time Police Officers

Fact: In 2008, the school district of Philadelphia employed 450 full-time law enforcement personnel. 

Fact: Several other U.S. public school systems employed over one hundred full-time law enforcement personnel, including Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, Palm Beach, Las Vegas, and Baltimore school districts.

Source: “Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies, 2008,” Bureau of Justice Statistics

3 Warrants Per Household in Ferguson in 2013

Fact: The municipal court of the city of Ferguson, MO disposed 24,532 warrants and 12,018 cases in 2013. 

Fact: This amounts to roughly 3 warrants and 1.5 cases per household. 

Fact: The city raised $2.6 million in revenue from these cases, or about $321 in fines and fees per household. 

SourceArchCity Defenders: Municipal Courts White Paper

Prison Labor to Fight Wildfires

Fact: Nearly half of those fighting the Bully Fire in California are inmates – 900 out of approximately 2,000 firefighters.

Fact: The inmates get paid $2 per day for their efforts.

Fact: Across the state of California, there are approximately 4,000 inmate firefighters.

Fact: California profits from their efforts to the tune of $100 million per year.

Source: “California Leans Heavily on Thousands of Inmate Firefighters,” KQED News

Charging Defendants for Court Employees’ Gym Costs

Fact: In some states, defendants are charged hundreds or thousands of dollars for their own arrest warrants, court-ordered drug and alcohol rehabilitation services, to have DNA samples collected, and even for jury trials.

Fact: In Michigan, an impoverished man was charged $1000 in court costs related to forging a prescription to pay for the following:

  • his court-appointed attorney
  • salaries of court employees
  • heat in the court building
  • operating telephones and copy machines
  • underwriting the cost of the court employees’ fitness gym

Fact: In some cases, a defendant can do community service in lieu of fines. However, there is often a per day fee for this.

Fact: A 2004 Department of Justice survey estimates that over 65% of prisoners leave jail financially indebted to the state. A more recent estimate places the figure at 80 to 85%.

SourceGuilty As Charged, NPR

Imprisonment To Pay Fees

Fact: Many services that were once free, including constitutionally protected ones, are increasingly subject to fee schedules. Failure to pay can result in imprisonment.

Fact: In at least 43 states and the District of Columbia, defendants can be billed for their public defender’s services.

Fact: In at least 41 states, inmates can be charged for room and board during jail and prison stays.

Fact: In at least 44 states, offenders can be billed for their own probation and supervision.

Fact: In all states except Hawaii and the District of Columbia, there is a fee for electronic monitoring devices that defendants and offenders are ordered to wear.

Source: Guilty As Charged, NPR