Saturday, 14 May 2016

US Prison System And Environmental Damage.

          An interesting article by a comrade in America who visited us in Glasgow a few years back, and we organised an event where he and his partner held a chat, questions and answers evening. He and his partner are long-term "eco-warriors, and the chat was about the attack on the environment and their tactics to fight this toxic looting and plundering of our planet. Still fighting, he draws connections between the American prison system, apart from the damage to the humans incarcerated in these monstrosities, and the damage they do to the environment. 
A mountaintop removal mine in Wise County, Virginia. The federal Bureau of Prisons wants to build a prison over a similarliy strip-mined parcel of land in neighboring Kentucky which is still being drilled for gas, and which is located amid a habitat for dozens of endangered species.
This by Panagioti Tsolkas, in "The Campaign To Fight Toxic Prisons".
       The United States Bureau of Prisons is trying to build a new, massive maximum-security prison in the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky — and there’s a growing movement to stop it.
        The prison industry in the US has grown in leaps and bounds in the past 20 years— a new prison was built at an average rate of one every two weeks in the ’90s, almost entirely in rural communities. As of 2002, there were already more prisoners in this country than farmers. The industry seems like an unstoppable machine, plowing forward at breakneck speed on the path that made the world’s largest prison population.
       Today, about 716 of every 100,000 Americans are in prison. Prisoners in nations across the world average at 155 per 100,000 people. And in the US, Southern states rule the chart. Viewing these states as countries themselves, Kentucky ranks at lucky number seven.
        “Sounds terrible…” you may be thinking, “But what does it have to do with the environment?”
          Well, this seemingly impenetrable multi-billion dollar bi-partisan government-driven industry does have a weak point: it’s a well-verified ecological mess. For a 10-year period of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Prison Initiative, prison after prison that the EPA’s inspected in the Mid-Atlantic region was plagued with violations. Violations included air and water pollution, inadequate hazardous waste management and failing spill control prevention for toxic materials.
          Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that the Bureau of Prisons’ latest plan for a new maximum-security federal prison is on a former mountaintop removal coal mine site, which is still being drilled for gas, and which is located amid a habitat for dozens of endangered species. Where else but Appalachia?
         The proposed half a billion dollar facility is to be located in Kentucky’s Letcher County. If built, this would be the fourth new federal prison in eastern Kentucky, and the sixth federal prison built in Central Appalachia, since 1992, making the region one of the most concentrated areas of prison growth in the country.
Read the full article HERE:
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