We need economic progress, not a $2 billion jail

On September 2015, the La County Board of Supervisors reaffirmed a contentious $2 billion plan to build two new jails, one in downtown for men a new women’s jail in Lancaster. The plan started in 2015 because of overcrowded jails. However, these new jails will affect the economy by increasing taxes and giving profits from prison labor to private companies.

Jail Constructions increases taxes

Our tax dollars may increase because of the construction of these two new jails. According to the Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), “Counties must match a minimum of 5% – 10% of the total construction project cost as the county contribution. County contribution can come from the county’s general fund and/or county voter approved taxes” . The economy will be affected because our taxes may increase. Not all taxes are bad. For example, some taxes are an investment because they pay for health care, education, and retirement. However, raising taxes to build new jails is bad because America already has the largest prison system in the world and in Los Angeles there is an exaggerated number of prisons. When we invest in jails, the public does not obtain clear benefits. Only big corporations benefit from investing in jails.

Companies that profit from jails

Companies like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Walmart, and Starbucks all benefit from prison labor. They try to gain profit by any means necessary. An article from ESL Library
observes that
“many US. companies are bringing jobs back to American soil. Instead of using cheap overseas labor, they are employing prisoners at private or state prisons. Corporations can pay prisoners less than a dollar an hour and they don’t have to pay benefits” . The county sees their $2 billion jail plan as a way to develop Los Angeles. But, when these new jails are built, the police will need to find people to fill them. Once these jails are full, they will send many of the inmates to prison, where they will get a job that pays less than $1 per hour. Basically, building new jails can lead to less jobs for free people and more low-wage jobs for inmates.  

Jails are not healthy for the community because they negatively influence the economy by raising California resident’s taxes and giving profits from prison labor to private companies. They are taking advantage of those incarcerated for the benefit of a few. The criminal justice system should benefit our people that need support instead of working for the interest of wealthy private companies.

Works Cited:

Californians United For A Responsible. “Who Is Paying For Jail Construction In California?” Print

Sewell. L.A. County supervisors move ahead with $2- billion jails plan. september 1, 2015 7:34. page 1 & 2 www.latimes.com

“Prison Labor.” ESL Library. Red River Press, 2013. Web. 7 Dec. 2015. <https://esllibrary.com/courses/72/lessons/1272&gt;.


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