I've often extolled the benefits to a capitalist economic model of maintaining a criminalized underclass. It supresses wages, amplifies the threat of not playing in the game to an individual's liberty, and ensures that there's always SOMEONE willing to perform the most menial or dangerous tasks required by the system.
This morning on Talking Points Memo Wade Henderson, the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, points out that Pennsylvania under Tom Corbett's spending priorities is well on its way to distinguishing itself as one of the states most adept at expanding this pool of cheap labor.
While Philadelphia's schools were reeling from a $300 million deficit, the state was bankrolling the construction of a "state of the art" prison complex less than an hour away in Skippack Township. The $400 million prison is expected to open in 2015 with a capacity of up to 4,000 prisoners. One of the reasons cited for the expansion is to house more prisoners closer to where they are from, Philadelphia. It's as though the state has given up on its largest city and is already lining up cells for Philadelphia's class of 2015. [Emphasis added - Ed.]
Of course, Tom and his privileged class needn't concern themselves with trying to go about their daily business while walking amongst bitter, uneducated, desperate people as do the rest of us that must make our livings at street level.
Well, at least Pennsylvania will have one distinction in the world community: jailer extraordinaire.