Target: New Hampshire legislature
Goal: Thank the state of New Hampshire for closing its private prison system, a for-profit industry which put harsh penalties on non-violent criminals.
On March 22nd, 2013, New Hampshire voted to close private prisons within the state. According to the ruling, the state House said that the privatization of prisons “would shirk the state’s constitutional responsibility to rehabilitate inmates.” This ruling on behalf of New Hampshire is an important step in the move for prison reform. Private prisons owned by private corporations generate profits; consequently, there are individuals who have a business for-profit interest in adding more inmates.
As a result of this drive to fill the prisons, private prison owners have lobbied for stricter drug and immigration laws. This is obviously problematic because the end result is that many non-violent people are removed from their communities due to possession of drugs or due to immigration laws (although being an undocumented immigrant is considered a civil offense, not a criminal offense).
Arresting violent, dangerous criminals is important. However, locking away so many non-violent offenders, many of whom are poor and/or minorities, promotes prison as a means of vengeance rather than rehabilitation, and no one is being protected by locking away these people. In fact, families and communities are frequently torn apart by drug wars and brutal immigration laws. Closing private for-profit prisons is a great step towards promoting a more equitable and compassionate justice system that places less emphasis on non-violent offenses. Sign this petition to thank New Hampshire for its decision.
Dear legislature of the state of New Hampshire,
You have recently voted to close your state’s private prison system. Thank you for making this important decision. For-profit prisons, as you have observed, discourage rehabilitation of inmates, and the for-profit aspect of private prisons tends to encourage prison owners to push for harsher laws and penalties for non-violent offenders such as drug users and immigrants.
I think the prison system should remain within the hands of the state, where it can be standardized and accountable to the public. Obviously, you agree, based on your vote. Thank you for taking this step towards prison reform. I hope that all states will abide by this example.
[Your Name Here]
photo credit: US Government via Wikimedia Commons