Prison-Industrial Complex to be Featured at MCC

Vince Gaddis

The McHenry County College Student Peace Action Network continues to bring provocative programs to Crystal Lake.

The next one will be bout privatized prisons, to be held on March 4th.

I wonder if the local version of this phenomenon will be discussed.

What’s that?

The Sheriff’s Department’s making money by housing illegal immigrants on the top floor of the county jail.

The press release is below:



[Feb. 23, 2010.Crystal Lake, IL]  The McHenry County College Student Peace Action Network (SPAN) will host an informational seminar featuring Dr. Vincent Gaddis on March 4th, 2010 at 7:00pm in the College’s Conference Center.  The event is titled

The United States: Leading Jailer of the World.”

According to Human Rights Watch, the United States incarcerates more people than any country in the world, including the far more populous nation of China.  In 2008, the American penal system held more than 2.3 million adults, China was second with 1.5 million and Russia a distant third.

The United States leads not only by the sheer number of inmates but in the rate at which it incarcerates its citizenry, outpacing nations like Iran and Saudi Arabia.  In Germany, 93 people are in prison for every 100,000 adults and children whereas in the United States, the rate is eight times higher or 750 per 100,000.

As incredible as it sounds, 1 in 100 adults are now locked up in America and for Hispanic and black men, imprisonment is far more prevalent.  Dr. Gaddis will analyze the structural flaws within our system that lead to these astounding statistics.

Imprisonment has become the answer to many of the social problems rooted in poverty.

The practice of locking up the poor from racially marginalized communities has become big business.

What once was considered government work has increasingly been turned over to private contractors, creating a monstrous “prison industrial complex” whose profit depends on people to punish.

Dr Gaddis calls for a revolution – “a revolution in values.”  He persuasively argues that what we need is not new prisons, but a powerful movement for social transformation in health care, housing, education, drug programs, jobs, and education.

The event is part of SPAN’s Current American Issues Information Seminar Series. SPAN is made up of students promoting peace nationally and locally through action and education. The event is co-sponsored by Pax Christi and the McHenry County Peace Coalition. The event is free and open to the public.

The college is located at 8900 U.S. Hwy. 14, Crystal Lake.  For more information, contact the MCC Student Activities Office at (815) 455-8772.

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