Huckabee for President
PO Box 3357
Little Rock, AR 72203
Dear Governor/Moderator/Pastor Huckabee,
‘I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Holy hand grenade of Antioch, Matthew — stop being such a killjoy. I think you’re onto something, Mike. Making criminals work off their debt instead of enjoying three hots and a cot? I keep seeing articles online which say you’re advocating “slavery,” which is nonsense. All you did was agree with Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson, of ‘Mickelson in the Morning,’ who paraphrased the Book of Exodus. “It says, if a person steals … if they don’t have anything, we’re supposed to take them down and sell them.”
Jan went on to say, “We indenture them and they have to spend their time not sitting on their stump in a jail cell, they’re supposed to be working off the debt. “Wouldn’t that be a better choice?” Naturally, Pastor Huckabee, you agreed with that nonsense, saying, “Well, it really would be. Sometimes the best way to deal with a nonviolent criminal behavior is what you just suggested.” Exactly — nonviolent criminals do not deserve compassion — or rehabilitation — or an examination of how a lack of economic opportunity might have contributed to their behavior. Let’s squeeze them for a few bucks.
So, I gotta ask, how much has Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) donated to the campaign? Seriously, pastor, if we’re going to consider modern day slavery, we really should consult the experts, right? In the past thirty years, prison populations have grown 500%, because this idea you’re promoting to the good folks in Iowa makes huge profits for the companies that also charge the taxpayers to house and feed those criminals. They’re double-dipping — getting a check from the state, and from the labor they induce on the inside. Win-win!
As Hillary Clinton noted during the Democratic debate in Las Vegas, criminal justice reform is, perhaps, the only truly bipartisan issue in D.C. today — so it’s bold of you to use Scripture to double-down on the for-profit prison system in this manner. I know it plays well with the ‘law and order’ crowd, but it’s not necessarily humane — or good governance. It costs over $23K a year to house a state prisoner — but once they’re on the inside, “slave labor” is the tip of the iceberg, as far as prisoner profit potential goes.
You should look into how much financial institutions charge families to send their loved ones money inside these private prisons. There ought to be a law — oh, wait, there is! They’re free to charge 35-45% to get cash to the inmates to pay for things like soap, toothpaste, toilet paper … even electricity and room and board. So who is paying for junior’s joy ride in a stolen car? Taxpayers, for sure — but also those on the outside, left to mortgage the house to make life barely tolerable on the inside.
All I’m suggesting, Mike, is that before you “take them down and sell them,” take a tip from CCA — who build in 14 different exclusion criteria for the prisoners they accept into their indentured servitude program. Don’t accept disabled or elderly inmates, anyone that’s HIV-positive, or prisoners that have a high overhead cost attached to their stay — like anyone with “sensitive medical conditions and/or high risk diagnoses.” CCA won’t take those prisoners (or if they do, they certainly don’t provide medical care or treatment). Neither should you, governor.
The correct quote from Exodus is this: “A thief must make full restitution. If he is unable, he is to be sold because of his theft.” In your vision for a Christo-Sharia theocratic America, Mike — can we drop the mandatory occupancy requirements? I’m tired of paying for empty beds (not that it’s a particularly big problem, considering the incarceration rate). 65% of these private companies build in the 80-90 rule into their contracts — meaning if the state doesn’t send them enough slave labor (filling at least 90% of available cell space) — they still get paid — period. No wonder it’ a $70 billion industry.
I don’t mean to preach, Mike, but ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ It seems the harder you chase that ever-elusive goal of putting Jesus on the ticket as you running mate, the further you actually get from His teachings. Which makes me wonder — is it really just all about the Benjamins these days? Republican Jesus™ loves having you out there spewing this RWNJ nonsense, but trust me — Biblical Jesus® is not amused.