Sometimes you win.
That can be an unfamiliar sensation for people on the left. When you fight for good causes, against powerful forces and overwhelming odds, you lose a lot of battles.
But sometimes you win. Take this month’s announcement from the Justice Department that it’s planning to phase out the use of for-profit prisons. Like many such victories, it is only a qualified success. But qualified success is still success.
This victory seemed politically impossible as recently as last year. What changed? Like many such victories, it began with consciousness. Attacks on the “prison industrial complex” were once considered the province of radical activists and crusading (but possibly lonely) left journalists.
Some church groups got wind of the issue in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s and divested themselves of for-profit prison stock. Writers and thinkers and activists continued to shine a light on the problem. Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow,” has been writing about this issue for years. Books like “Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money From Mass Incarceration” explored the issue in depth.More ...