We have to ask, why the sudden push for criminal justice reform? Is there a new concern for those being incarcerated? Please forgive the cynicism but I think not. Maybe it’s because prison business is no longer profitable.
Imagine that a group entrepreneurs got together to come up with the next “big” business idea. Imagine the conversation goes as follows:
Entrepreneur # 1: “We need to build something that’s going to last and has a constant supply of free resources. We don’t want to have to buy raw materials.”
Entrepreneur # 2: “Everyone is concerned about crime. Maybe we should do something along those lines.”
Entrepreneur # 3: “Why don’t we get into the prison business? We can build prisons, offer our services to states, and run them. We can tell them that we can operate a prison more effectively and efficiently than they ever could which will ultimately save them money.”
Entrepreneur # 1: “Brilliant idea, there will always be criminals. How will we ensure that we have a constant supply of resources?”Entrepreneur # 3: “Why don’t we find an organization that links corporations with state legislators and officials? Why don’t we convince them that this is a great idea and that they should create model bills for other states to use also?”Entrepreneur # 2: “We can pitch to them that they’re saving taxpayer money by privatizing the prison industry and they can use those funds to better serve their state. I’m absolutely certain they will fall for it.”Entrepreneur # 1: “In the meantime this will increase the prison population so much that they will need to build more prisons. More prisons, more prisoners, more money, priceless.”
Entrepreneur # 3: “You know at some point they will realize they have been sold a bill of goods and that this is costing them more than they ever planned on. It’s going to kill their budgets.”
Entrepreneur # 1: “Yep, and when that time happens we’ll tell them to position it as criminal justice reform and they’ll look like the good guys. We would have made millions by then so who cares.”
Sounds farfetched? Not really. Although this is a fictional story let’s look at some facts:
Ernest R. Heyward is the Founder and President of the Marketplace for Social Awareness and Social Responsibility.
The Marketplace is an educational and charitable organization formed for the purpose of promoting and supporting programs, initiatives, and events that address the needs of culturally diverse and economically challenged youth.