Snitchville, USA

 Imagine this: a police force that makes its living on commissions alone, in other words, the more arrests they make the more money they earn. Violent offenders aren’t easy to catch red-handed and they usually are in possession of few items of value, whereas drug-related offenders (who are essentially either consumers or merchants) are easier to catch in the act and are often in possession of large sums of money, cars and/or contraband substances. If you were an officer of the law, which would you choose to pursue: a violent offender (who might actually attack you) or a drug-related offender? 60% of all arrests in the US are drug-related. Violent collars aren’t as profitable or easy to apprehend as drug users/consumers. Drug-related offenders’ possessions are forfeited and become the property of the police department, which in turns auctions the items off to pay their own salaries and buy new equipment. They also use the money to pay informers, which is becoming a legitimate profession in the US.

In the United States, it is far too profitable for the government to keep drugs illegal. The private corrections industry is growing at an explosive rate and the criminal justice system just keeps filling these private prisons with more and more offenders. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry. The courts and the legal system want their share and the fees for defendants keep the courts’ coffers full. The private prisons then earn on top of the per diem money they get from the state by leasing out their prisoners as cheap labour to fellow corporations. (Interestingly, during the second war Dachau, a forced labor camp, supplied labor to industries in nearby Munich, including BMW and Photo Agfa).




VIDEO: The Prison Industrial Complex, 1999 (First minute in Dutch then all in English).


What is the solution? To fight fire with fire! Let’s make being a prisoner a valid career choice!

What we need is a hedge fund managed by potential prisoners that invest the criminal community’s money in the fund instead of forfeiting it to the police. Once these individuals get arrested and convicted, their previous financial contributions get invested in the private prison system. The better their prison performs in the stock market, the more dividends the incarcerated can earn! Then, once the private prison system is well established, we can begin to import prisoners from developing nations to occupy the places formally taken by domestic prisoners once they go into retirement. The retired prisoners can then live off the dividends of their hedge fund seeder capital and buy themselves a nice piece of land in some developing nation, perhaps in the very country where their outsourced inmate replacement came from. (Did I hear someone say “prisoners of the world, unite!”)? Until we find a way to cut governments in on the profitability of the drug trade while keeping the national moral panic level to an acceptable minimum, The US will continue to profit from the drug trade the only way it knows how: by putting people in jail.


-Jeffrey Andreoni