There are over two million people incarcerated in the United States today. From the year 1920 to 1975 the rate of incarcerations fluctuated between 82 to 113 per 100,000 people. From the years 1975 to 1990, the rate jumped by more then three hundred percent. The 1990’s have not been much better. If this isn’t bad enough, we can take a look at racial differences. For African American males 3,370 per 100,000 are presently incarcerated. About 15.5 percent of all prisoners are Hispanic although they compose a smaller percentage of the overall population. Mostly though the skew is related to income levels. By the year 2010, if the incarceration rate is still going the way it is, fully one-quarter of the United States will have had a stint in a jail at one time or another. Presently, 724 people out of every 100,000 are in prison. This doesn’t mean in county jail, this means that they are doing time in a state or federal facility. This rate of incarceration has dramatically increased since the 1970’s and has kept rising in the face of crime rates falling across the board over the past few decades [with the exception of drug crime arrests]. The overall rate of incarceration has increased 6.2 % during the 1990’s and it is thought it keep increasing until 1,900 people of 100,000 are incarcerated by the year 2025 unless something changes. Why is this alarming, one might ask? Because we have 500,000 more prisoners than China with a fraction of the population and more then seven times the incarceration rate of many technologically advanced countries. To add to the disgust of this growing monster known as the United States penal system, we are now seeing the phenomena of privatized prisons or corporate run prisons. Does the mere contemplation of this phrase scare anybody? Well, it scares the crap out of me. It is already well known that the corporate run prisons are serving sub-standard food, giving sub-standard care, and using substandard facilities in comparison to other prisons. Currently there are eighteen prison corporations that manage over 100,000 beds. From the looks of things, the trend is just beginning.The financial aspect of incarceration also looks pretty grim. The average cost of imprisoning one individual is 25,000 per year. In 1994 this cost the U.S. $35 million. This is only the tip of the iceberg too. There are lots of indirect costs. For example, when a person is imprisoned often times the family goes on welfare or the children get sent to a foster family. When lost wages are figured into all this, the total cost of incarceration in this country looks a bit more like $140 million and that is riding at the low end of possible costs.In an attempt to lower these costs, several prisons have been putting their inmates to work. This doesn’t seem to be such a bad thing at first glance. Who can disagree with keeping any one in the work force? I bet many of the prisoners even appreciate it. But if we dig a little deeper we find some of the muck sitting there looking us straight in the eye. First of all some of the companies running prisons are trying to set up their operations so that they employ the prisoner via their corporations as well. This to me sounds a lot like slavery with the holding pen included. There could be some very subversive motives behind all this. As we all know there is hardly a damn thing that prisons do to rehabilitate the inmates residing within their walls also there has been a definite trend towards the lengthening of sentences since Nixon’s war on crime. This could be a great position for a corporation to be in. Think about it, millions of employees that have to work for the corporation, who don’t get paid Jack, and the employees are definitely not going anywhere. If they work poorly the corporation could do just about anything they wanted to as punishment. I mean who’s going to believe a crook. No body believed Nixon, did they? How about a little dirt on our new President’s former state good ol’ Texas. Texas only has the second highest incarceration rate in the country closely following Louisiana. Texas’ prison population on average grew 11.8% annually during the 90’s; this was the highest growth rate in the U.S. Texas’ current incarceration rate is 1035 per 100,000. They also have the most people imprisoned than any other state in the Union (163,190). From 1990 to 2000 one in every five prisoners added to the overall prison population was incarcerated in Texas. New York had a higher crime rate then Texas over all but still incarcerated less people then Texas. Overall New York has added five times fewer prisoners to the overall U.S. inmate population. One in every twenty Texans is either in jail, prison, on parole, or on probation. Not only is this true, but most of us who paid attention to the elections know that this state is 49th in the country for education. To draw an easy parallel education levels are negatively correlated with incarceration. In other words the more educated you are the less likely you are to have served prison time. In prisons today 16% of the population has had some college experience, while on the outside, half of the U.S. has attended high school. In prison half have not made it through high school and more than that are functionally illiterate, while only 17% of the unincarcerated U.S. have not completed a high school level education. I wonder how much Bush did for his states education? I bet he left it up to the people to better the education of the state. Does anyone else see the flaw in that? To end on a positive note, it has been shown that prison employment does reduce recidivism nominally and it also does aid in employment after release. If this tool is used properly it could help a great deal. If the prisoners were paid what they are worth, they could conceivably pay for their incarceration, maybe help their families and even save for their return into society. The trick is going to be convincing the government, and now the corporations, and start rehabilitating prisoners rather than stowing them away.