It goes against the grain that profits should be made off of the backs of incarcerated members of society, but that is exactly what is going on within the United States’ Department of Justice’s prison systems: every year, over 1.5 million members of society are locked up in government-run and private prison systems, and despite an overwhelming percentage of those members coming from financially-disadvantaged circumstances, those and all inmates must part with an exorbitant amount of money in order to enjoy simple and small pleasures such as soup, juice, chewing gum, over-the-counter headache medication, and even more essential hygienic products such as toothpaste and shower slippers.
Mass incarceration is a very real problem. And while many companies, Keefe Group for example, who manufacture and supply products to prisons would protest that they are providing prisoners with affordable amenities, many one argue that not only are these “affordable amenities” anything but truly affordable when one looks at the per-battery or per-toothbrush cost, but additionally it is these same companies who are also busy lobbying for longer sentences for convicted prisoners. It isn’t too far of a stretch to speculate, if not outright prove, that Keefe Group and others are truly looking to profit off of the misery of others. After all, more prisoners and longer sentences for those prisoners means more people wanting to purchase overpriced snacks and stationery, which in turn means more of a need for companies such as Keefe Group to continue providing their services for whatever cost they designate – since prisons will simply pass on those expenses to already financially and emotionally burdened prisoners.
Keefe Group is probably the largest provider of multiple systems for prisons and law enforcement groups — from the automated booking systems for those being arrested, arraigned, convicted, and processed; to the equally-automatic systems that enable prisoners to make phone calls, mail letters, and purchase everything from postage stamps for those letters to small items for themselves. And while it’s expected that companies should stand to make a profit, it is unexpected that companies like Keefe Group would both profit so highly off of inexpensive items and services, and then turn around and petition legislation for more incarcerations and longer incarceration terms.