We have to ask, why the sudden push for criminal justice reform? Is there a new concern for those being incarcerated? Please forgive the cynicism but I think not. Maybe it's because prison business is no longer profitable.
Imagine that a group entrepreneurs got together to come up with the next “big” business idea. Imagine the conversation goes as follows:
Entrepreneur # 1: “We need to build something that’s going to last and has a constant supply of free resources. We don’t want to have to buy raw materials.”
Entrepreneur # 2: “Everyone is concerned about crime. Maybe we should do something along those lines.”
Entrepreneur # 3: “Why don’t we get into the prison business? We can build prisons, offer our services to states, and run them. We can tell them that we can operate a prison more effectively and efficiently than they ever could which will ultimately save them money.”
In a prior article I shared that at least 180 restrictive bills were introduced since the beginning of 2011 in 41 states. Texas, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, South Carolina, and Florida have received a lot of press coverage lately. What do all of these states have in common? Republican Governors. Currently there are 29 Republican, 20 Democrat, 1 Independent Governors in the US.
To understand the effect this has on the promotion and introduction of voter ID and other voter suppression legislation, we need to explore how ALEC functions.
Over 30 years ago a nonpartisan membership association for conservative state lawmakers who shared a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty was formed known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Their belief is that the states should share co-equal status with the federal government.
I have committed the Marketplace to sharing as much information as possible to expose the American Legislative Exchange Council otherwise know as ALEC. Who they are, what they do, and what it means to us.
After launching the Marketplace one of my first articles was titled "Obsessed With ALEC". My passion for outing them has not diminished. In fact the more I read and learn, the more determined I am in continuing down this path for as long as it takes. Voter suppression, "Stand Your Ground" laws, the privatization of education, and many other issues all have some tie back to ALEC. In most cases we're not even talking six degrees of separation.
So in the spirit of my "obsession" I offer these two informative cartoons about ALEC.
I’m becoming obsessed with ALEC. It started as a small interest but the more I read and the more research I do, the more I have to find out.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been in the press a lot these days. ALEC has a long history of supporting the conservative agenda. Several major corporations have stopped or are in the process of stopping their support of this group. ALEC's positions on "Stand Your Group" and Voter I.D. initiatives are finally in the public eye.
Ernest R. Heyward is the Founder and President of the Marketplace for Social Awareness and Social Responsibility Inc.