Corrections, Inc.: Cheney and the For-Profit Prison Connection

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Dear Friend and Reader,

“And some say that God doesn’t exist.”

That was the reaction of Andrew Sullivan, the conservative columnist for The Atlantic to today’s breaking story about the Cheney indictment. I doubt all conservatives will be as relieved.

Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales (among others) were indicted by a grand jury for “engaging in an organized criminal activity related to the vice president’s investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds financial interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers.” The indictment awaits a signature by a judge.

Regional reporters have had their eyes on the growing system of for-profit prisons that have popped up like summer dandelions all along the Mexican border with the United States. This includes prisons in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona where most immigrants pass across the border — legally or illegally. But with our eyes locked on Iraq and our see-sawing economy, most Americans have lost interest in the fate of thousands of imprisoned illegal immigrants.

As this story develops, you can be sure Americans will have to examine the failure of yet another American institution — our justice system and it’s practical adjunct, prisons. Willacy Country, where the grand jury deliberated the evidence for the indictment, lies at the far southern tip of Texas, just a few miles from Brownsville and the Mexican border.

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