On December 7th, following the most contentious judicial nomination in the history of America with Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump nominated William Barr to replace Jeff Sessions as the United State Attorney General.
By all reasonable accounts, Barr was a safe pick for the nomination as he has spent his career as an establishment player within Republican circles.
At least that’s what the establishment thinks.
Barr previously served a variety of top roles under George H.W. Bush, including a term as Attorney General.
During that time, Barr, reassigned three hundred FBI agents to focus on violent crimes, away from their roles in counter intelligence.
The move placed a massive amount of focus on gang violence and resulted in a massive expansion of federal prisons and jails to house “habitual violence offenders.”
During Barr’s tenure at the Department of Justice, the prison population in America skyrocketed from 800,000 a million prisoners.
The trend continued until the year 2000 reaching 1.3 million incarcerated Americans.
Barr was an advocate of abandoning the parole system and keeping more people behind bars during their pretrial periods – leading to a massive leap in unconvicted suspects being held in jails before their hearings.
Williams Barr’s reasoning was his laser focus on cutting violent crime, however, according to a study conducted in 2014, the reforms had no discernable impact on violent crime.
Instead, it was found to negatively impact the economy, real estate and tax collections – not to mention the harm to families separated by the policies.
If crime was not slowed and the economy was harmed by Barr’s policies, who benefited from the Attorney General’s mass incarceration scheme?
That would be prison industry with profits more than tripling to $1.3 billion by 1994.
Once company founded by Republican politician, Thomas Beasley, Corrections Corporation of America (now CoreCivic), had their revenue top $1.7 billion by 2012.
CoreCivic not only runs private prisons, but outsources labor for as low as $.17 per hour.
Who takes advantage of $.17 wages?
You’d be surprised. IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, HP, Macy’s, AT&T, Verizon and even Target. Basically America’s fortune 500 is taking advantage of paying out only $20 a month for a prisoner’s labor.
There are exceptions. In Tennessee, CoreCivic pays a whopping $.50 per hour.
Whether or not Barr’s intent was to boost revenue for the prison industry, that was the consequence with few other benefits to America.
Hopefully with newly enacted prison reforms, Barr will focus on putting real criminals behind bars, rather than setting quotas to fill the prison system.