FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

“Progressive” Prison Profiteer

by NATHAN GOODMAN

Last Saturday, members of the Salt Lake City Prison Divestment Campaign told Utah’s Democratic Party the truth about Jane Marquardt, who sought a position as vice chair of the Utah Democratic Party’s Central Committee. You see, Jane holds another vice chair position: Vice chair of the board at Management and Training Corporation (MTC), America’s third largest operator of for-profit prisons.

While Marquardt is praised by establishment liberal organizations like Human Rights Campaign and Equality Utah for supporting LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) rights, her company profits from the disproportionate caging and abuse of LGBT people, especially transgender women. LGBT youth are disproportionately likely to be homeless, putting them at increased risk of criminalization. Furthermore, the poverty inflicted on members of the LGBT community through employment and housing discrimination increases their risk of incarceration. Transgender people have their risk of incarceration further exacerbated by being profiled for “prostitution” charges and sometimes even locked up for using public restrooms. There is also homophobic and transphobic discrimination in America’s immigration system, leading LGBT immigrants to be disproportionately sent to immigration detention centers, which MTC profits from.

Once locked in prison or an immigration detention center, LGBT inmates face horrific abuses. A 2007 study found that “[s]exual assault is 13 times more prevalent among transgender inmates, with 59 percent reporting being sexually assaulted.” The same study found that 67% of LGBT inmates reported being sexually assaulted. That’s 15 times the rate for their straight and cisgender counterparts.

Transgender inmates are also often placed in solitary confinement due to their gender identity. Voices across the political spectrum recognize solitary confinement as a form of torture. Yes, Jane Marquardt, a leading Democrat and “LGBT rights activist,” profits from the torture of transgender people.

There have also been abuses unique to facilities Marquardt’s company operated. An investigative report by PBS’s FRONTLINE found that MTC’s Willacy Detention Center was a site of rampant sexual abuse, and that guards were covering it up. When activists from the Prison Divestment Campaign told Jane Marquardt in a cordial meeting that this had happened in her facilities, she looked shocked and said “That would be terrible if that were happening in our facilities!” When we told her it was and handed her a copy of FRONTLINE’s report, she changed the subject.

MTC has not just been corrupt in their operation of prisons, but in their political donations. They donate money to politicians whom they expect will open new for-profit prisons. Furthermore, they donated to supporters of Arizona’s infamous anti-immigrant bill SB 1070, which would send new unwilling immigrant customers to their cages.

When activists called out Marquardt for profiting from human rights abuses, Democrats were appalled not at Jane’s profiteering, but that anyone would be so rude as to shout about it. Yet the Democratic Party claims to stand for immigrants, the poor, people of color, and the LGBT community, all of which are groups that Jane Marquardt’s company cages and abuses for profit.

People who care about equality and human rights should see this as a wake up call. They should abandon the Democratic Party, and instead resist the corrupt system that enables Jane Marquardt to profit by caging human beings.

Nathan Goodman is a writer and activist living in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has been involved in LGBT, feminist, anti-war, and prisonersolidarity organizing. In addition to writing at the Center for a Stateless Society, he blogs at Dissenting Leftist. He is a member of the Prison Divestment Project.

Nathan Goodman is the Lysander Spooner Research Scholar in Abolitionist Studies at the Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS.org). He blogs at Dissenting Leftist.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail