Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Indiana- Home Of Crony Capitalism

I absolutely hate it when a critic makes the mistake of seeing a government created monopoly business situation that creates problems, and assailing it broadly as a failure of capitalism.

I expect such criticism to begin to mount in the wake of the Indiana prison riot in New Castle. From the Indy Star report:
State officials will temporarily halt the transfer of Arizona prisoners to the New Castle Correctional Facility after a riot Tuesday that prompted calls for an end to housing another state's inmates in Indiana.

Department of Correction officials said nine people -- two prison employees and seven inmates -- suffered minor injuries in separate disturbances involving Arizona and Indiana prisoners during a two-hour period Tuesday afternoon at the facility 50 miles east of Indianapolis.

The other day, it was the "In God We Trust" license plates. Today it's this 'imported inmates' deal. What do both have in common? True conservatives should be opposed to both.

True conservatives should be opposed to special interest group-driven license plates on the basis that government has no business being a clearing house for private organizations, or for promoting mottos or images. Instead, Republicans seek balance- some plates they can call their own.

True conservatives should be opposed to selling off excess prison capacity on the basis that government should only have marginal excess prison capacity to begin with, and that state government has a limited proper role in protecting its' citizens from dangerous criminals. Instead, Republicans seek to turn the state into a business, making a profit on the excess prison capacity that should not be, taking in prisoners that are not the proper responsibility of the state of Indiana.

Indeed, Indiana government turned its responsibility on its' head. While by housing Indiana prisoners it is supposed to be protecting the law-abiding citizenry, it imported Arizona prisoners and thereby threatened the safety of the law-abiding Indiana citizenry.

This is without even considering the social implications of bringing two distinct prison populations together. Also from the Star:
"The idea of bringing in people from another state who bring along their gangs, allegiances and different alliances immediately was a mixture that was bound to bring trouble," said House Speaker B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend.

This is something that should have been anticipated by the State. It's obvious. Was it even considered? It isn't just culture clashes between populations that should have been considered, but also between procedures. Another quote:
Commissioner J. David Donahue said the Arizona prisoners may have been upset
because Indiana prisons have different rules, including a ban on smoking and
limits on personal items inmates can have in their cells.

What causes riots? When a prisoner has so little, they hang on to the few things they have. If they had cigarettes in Arizona and lost them in coming to Indiana, anyone with a shred of common sense had to know the inmates would be unhappy. All these differences should have been scouted in advance. It appears they were not.

So, capitalism is likely to take the hits, when it doesn't deserve it. Let's be clear on terms:

Capitalism is business that exists in the private sector, and outside of monopoly settings. This privatization deal is not capitalism. There is no competition in Indiana for private operation of prisons. This prison is the only one that is privately managed. That's crony capitalism. I detest crony capitalism.

Privatization is allowing a private operator to manage a function previously managed by government. This prison is no longer managed by government, being managed by a private corporation, GEO Group.

The importation of prisoners into this prison was not the brainchild of GEO Group, however. This was a Daniels Administration initiative. GEO had to deal with the situation.

Both Daniels and GEO have failed here, but I hold Daniels as most accountable. The importation never should have happened, as outlined above. If it hadn't, the riots most likely wouldn't have happened.

Today's Republicans will accept anything the people wearing the Elephant Brand promote. Expanding the state government's role in prison management? What principled conservative could possibly be in favor? Ah. There's just an absense of principled Republicans.

So, Republicans. Don't wince to sternly when capitalism gets beaten up because of this. You helped make it so.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Go Sharks!