By Thomas Edsall
August 28, 2014
In Orange County, Calif., the probation department’s “supervised electronic confinement program,” which monitors the movements of low-risk offenders, has been outsourced to a private company, Sentinel Offender Services. The company, by its own account, oversees case management, including breath alcohol and drug-testing services, “all at no cost to county taxpayers.”
Sentinel makes its money by getting the offenders on probation to pay for the company’s services. Charges can range from $35 to $100 a month.
The company boasts of having contracts with more than 200 government agencies, and it takes pride in the “development of offender funded programs where any of our services can be provided at no cost to the agency.”
Sentinel is a part of the expanding universe of poverty capitalism. In this unique sector of the economy, costs of essential government services are shifted to the poor.
In terms of food, housing and other essentials, the cost of being poor has always been exorbitant. Landlords, grocery stores and other commercial enterprises have all found ways to profit from those at the bottom of the ladder.
The recent drive toward privatization of government functions has turned traditional public services into profit-making enterprises as well.
In addition to probation, municipal court systems are also turning collections over to a national network of companies like Sentinel that profit from service charges imposed on the men and women who are under court order to pay fees and fines, including traffic tickets (with the fees being sums tacked on by the court to fund administrative services).
When they cannot pay these assessed fees and fines – plus collection charges imposed by the private companies — offenders can be sent to jail. There are many documented cases in which courts have imprisoned those who failed to keep up with their combined fines, fees and service charges.
Continue reading at: http://www.alternet.org/economy/companies-making-profit-abusing-poor
Kelsie Brynn Jones
Aug 27, 2014
This is an essay that I never wanted to write, especially after my most recent Huffington Post article on unity within the LGBT. Sadly, life has a way of interfering with one’s intentions, and that is what has happened on this occasion. Only a couple of days ago a prominent transgender activist and writer with whom I had previously conversed, decided to attack me after I voiced a contrary opinion to a piece that was highly critical of citizen journalism.
At first I was simply shocked at what I was seeing in my inbox, but within moments my shock turned to abject horror. Parker Molloy, someone I had looked to for advice on occasion and supported through her fundraising for surgery, was telling me to kill myself. Not only was she telling another trans woman to die, she was giving her instructions ranging from cutting herself to drinking bleach, and what’s more, demanding that she do it.
Rather than Molloy writing from social conviction it would seem that her body of work of late, such as her writing against RuPaul and Carmen Carrera, has been solely authored to co-opt the movement against the use of misogynistic and trans-misogynistic slurs in order to further her grip on becoming a spokeswoman within mainstream organizations rather from any deep-seated belief. The first thing that she wrote against another trans woman in this particular case, were the misogynist slurs “c-nt” and “wh-re” — hardly what I would have expected from a writer who publicly crusades against the use of those words in particular.
As a journalist, I battled for several hours with the question of whether or not I should address the attack publicly, since it was made to me in private, but after letting her words sink in I made the difficult decision to publish what she had said to me despite the backlash that will no doubt transpire from the Parker Cult within the community. Her behavior, and the behavior of those who follow blindly because they feel that she rallies against privilege, is violent, hypocritical and damaging to themselves and the greater transgender community. There are clear parallels between Parker Molloy and Susan Stanton. For readers who might not recall, Susan was an inauthentic transgender spokesperson who was once lauded by the mainstream, and who allowed herself to become a puppet for the policies of those supporting her, in much the way as Molloy now appears to be doing.
Stanton said that transgender women don’t deserve employment protection, that this would be putting transgender women at risk. What Parker did was worse, however, as she attempted to trigger another transgender woman into directly committing self-harm. Unfortunately, it became apparent that she has done this before, and, sadly, with much more success. A transgender woman whom I shall call Jane for fear of backlash, told me that she had attempted to commit suicide after a discourse with Parker that migrated from public social media to a private chat. Jane videoed her attempt, and the police arrived, and in her words she was “5150′d”, which means that she was placed in Involuntary Psychiatric Hold in the State of California.