STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Ben and Jerry’s Scoops Out Half Baked News
By Joe Jarvis - May 01, 2017

Did you know that in addition to ice cream, Ben and Jerry’s serves up delicious propaganda? Nom, Nom, Nom. Mmmm. I feel informed.

And it is actually pretty good propaganda, in that it contains little chocolaty chunks of truth. You have got to mix some gooey truth morsels in if you want your cold creamy lies to sell.

I was actually pretty surprised to be reading news on Ben and Jerry’s ice cream website. That took me by surprise. And, okay, let me give Ben And Jerry’s a little credit for tackling some issues that need to be brought to light. But they are just such insufferable lefties that even when they bring up a good point, it melts away while they try to sell their progressive vision of the world.

The issue is private prisons. I hate the term. Nothing which derives its entire budget from the government should be considered private. If it wouldn’t exist in its current form without government money, it is not private. And I realize that so many companies now receive government assistance in one form or another that hardly anything is a purely private company anymore. But when the entire budget of the company comes from government contracts, that is most certainly not a private company in any sense of the word.

The article is called Abe Lincoln Would’ve Hated Private Prisons. It brings up some problematic things about the criminal justice system, like the growing number of inmates, and the incentives that “private” prisons have to keep the prison populations growing. In fact, these quasi-private prisons have a large lobbying arm that fights to keep more activities criminalized with a generous topping of stiff sentencing.

When criticizing private prisons, Ben and Jerry’s is basically suggesting that public prisons do not have the same incentives. But they do. Every bureaucratic agency has an incentive to use its entire budget, and request more money. If the director of an agency has more money, he can hire more people, and exert more political control. The more inmates, the more that branch of government is “needed.”

But still, it is right to point out that many prisoners are essentially modern day slaves if they are being forced to work for the profit of others. This wouldn’t necessarily be unjust to force criminals who victimized others to work to pay off their debt to the victim. But the victims are generally not the ones being paid back. Instead, the government and the “private” prisons are keeping the cash.

But Ben and Jerry’s never mentioned the fact that the main injustice is when these modern day slaves are in prison for victimless crimes. And while they lament the private prison industry keeping the profits, they offer no criticism for when the government rather than the victims get the profits of prison labor.

Ben and Jerry’s has a different point to make. They heap on generous servings of racism like they are pouring jimmies–uh sprinkles–all over your delicious propaganda sundae.

As that prison population has risen (from 357,292 in 1970 to 2,306,200 in 2014) it’s become ridiculously clear that racism plays a huge role in who gets locked up and for how long. Here are just a few of the facts:

  • African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites.
  • Black men now make up about 40% of the total prison population (even though they represent only about 12% of the total US population).
  • Prisoners are often forced to work — frequently making products for major corporations — for pennies.
  • More black men, says author Michelle Alexander, are in prison today than were enslaved in 1850.

In short, mass incarceration has replaced slavery as a form of social control of America’s black population, who are still being used to fill the coffers of the for-profit prison system.

And that was all they said about it. No discussion of why or how this is the case, just some stats to indicate the prison system is racist.

Why don’t they add that victimless drug crimes account for much of the black prison population? It is framed as innocent black people being railroaded into the prison system on trumped up charges. But the charges aren’t trumped up, they are just for victimless crimes such as drugs and public disorder.

Whatever racism exists within the justice system is mostly in what types of behaviors are criminalized, and the standard sentencing for various crimes. Eliminating victimless crimes would go a long way towards fixing the racist nature of the system.

Ben and Jerry’s is totally pouring fudge all over their banana-republic split.

How Private Prison Should Look

If prisons were entirely divorced from government, we would have a system where the only reason someone goes to prison is to pay off a debt owed to their victim. That means the only crimes for which someone could be imprisoned would require a victim. No more victimless crimes. That eliminates as many as 86% of federal inmates!

So without “society” being the victim, we will have (1) the victim (or representative) claiming damages, (2) the defendant, (3) the court (which could be private), (4) the prison system to extract damages and separate dangerous individuals from other possible victims.

Even if the prisons wanted more prisoners, there would be nothing they could do. No more criminalizing extra stuff to make more prisoners. No more extending mandatory minimum sentences; the sentence would be however long it takes to “make the victim whole.”

The only thing that could still cause corruption is coordination between prisons and the courts sending the prisoners there.

This could easily be solved by allowing the prisoners to choose which private prison they go to. This means prisons would have to compete for their labor by offering things like humane conditions, and reasonable rent. Some might even decide to specialize in helping prisoners reach their full earning potential, and thus pay back their victim quicker. Others might allow the prisoners to stay when their term is complete if they would like to keep earning money in the same way they did while in prison.

Of course what I am imagining is an entirely new type of system, where individual responsibility and productivity is incentivized. It wouldn’t look or feel anything like the prisons of today, except for a few special cases of murderers and psychopaths who have no hope of integrating back into society without re-offending.

I’m still not sure why an ice cream shop is putting news on their website, but hey, good for them if they want to take part in a little activism. I just wish they would get to the real scoop instead of whipping up a biased topping for the facts.

“Private” prisons are not really “private” and eliminating them would not solve the issues in the criminal justice system. Only eliminating victimless crimes will substantially reform the rocky road our prison system is on. And after that, it is time to explore truly private prisons, private courts, and private everything else.

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Posted in STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
  • robertsgt40

    Being a BDS fan, I never walk into a Ben and Jerry’s joint.

    • LawrenceNeal

      You can make your own ice cream, it’s not hard or complicated. Then you know exactly what’s in it.

  • Barney Biggs

    So why not call them “sovereign prisons” this is simliar to the sovereign Chinese companies that are controlled and financed by the Chinese Gov. These are the companies that are buying farm land etc. in the US and Canada and around the world.
    Now the Gov. which up to recently has been in the hands of the Lefties should have been inspecting and ensuring compliance with Federal policies.
    Did I hear any squealing in the previous 8 years? I must be deaf I suppose.
    I prefer Baskin and Robins anyway.
    Thanks for giving us the headsup on Ben and G.
    Try to avoind these blatant left wing outfits as much as possible.

  • LawrenceNeal

    Shining even a little, incomplete light on the for-profit prison system is better than none at all. They may have informed some people that previously had no idea. Why not send your article to them, so they can amend theirs?

  • georgesilver

    ALL of these multinationals should be avoided. I never buy or drink Pepsi or Coca Cola. As for Ben and Jerry’s forget it. Then there is MacDonalds I avoid them as I don’t like eating chemicals. Why on Earth does anyone read their website let alone eat the stuff. Make your own ice cream, drinks and burgers…. healthier and far far cheaper.

    • Nick

      Because I’m lazy, Like the stuff, and am fine with spending a little more money.

      • georgesilver

        Can’t argue with that LOL.

  • Shen

    Drug arrests are not necessarily a victimless crimes. Ever have a drug addict in your family? The family is victimized. Druggies steal to buy drugs, they lie, they O.D, they commit suicide, they neglect or terrorize their spouses and children, they don’t work, they encourage others to join them in nothingness.. And, then there are the drug dealers… who kidnap and kill to protect their turf. And they entice kids to try it.

    • Ephraiyim

      You overlook the fact that if doing, selling of drugs was legal there are incentives for those who sell such items to become legitimate businesses. If legitimate they would no longer be involved in other crimes.
      As to the people who choose to use or even abuse that would be a family matter first but could become a civil matter.
      BTW if family did not have to be concerned that trying to get help might send their loved one to prison they would have more incentive to do so!
      The criminalization of drugs is the issue, not the crimes people may commit while involved.
      Criminalization is not the way for people to be made whole, whether one speaks of the user or their family and loved ones. It only causes more disruption and, often prevents a person from being able to take care of family or even themselves financially once they are out.

    • alohajim

      You are right Shen, a drug arrest is not a victimless crime. The victim is the person who chose to ingest a drug and got arrested for it. Using drugs of any sort, prostitution, and the sale of any drugs are all victimless crimes. No victims, only people entering into voluntary contracts with each other. It’s no crime to OD, commit suicide, lie, refuse to work, to neglect or ‘terrorize’ one’s spouse and children, or to encourage others to do drugs.

      There is lots of suffering in our world and some of it is due to individuals making poor choices. Perhaps you are confusing a victim of a crime with the suffering that families endure when a family member behaves badly due to a drug addiction.

      The worst and most henious crimes are committed by governments serving their masters the banking families using either hopelessly brainwashed minions or sadistic psychopaths to put hurt on their fellow human beings. Like incarcerating citizens for victimless crimes.

      Good article DB. This travesty needs more exposure.

    • James Clander

      It’s attitudes like yours that allow this rotten system to keep functioning.
      You obviously swallow the Govt line & have no problem about the tens of thousands in Jail for SFA. A sort of goodie two shoes with no moral compass.

    • Isaac Nussbaum

      Given those facts, would you agree that draconian drug laws have not worked, Shen?

    • DV

      But violent crime is not at the root of a drug arrest, Shen. Drug laws punish acts of disobedience, not violence.

  • James Clander

    The incarceration rate in the USA is mind numbing.
    Land of the free my A$$ ! Totally inexcusable & a World disgrace.

  • Misterkel

    Stupid article – basically saying – “I agree with B & J in essence, but they didn’t complain about the aspects I dislike – victimless crime.” Uh – can you say implied?

    “But when the entire budget of the company comes from government
    contracts, that is most certainly not a private company in any sense of
    the word.”

    Oh, really? Then who owns the stock? That is the definition of a private company, btw – the owners, not the clients. By your definition, any company that sells any services to the government is not private. What?

    “Some might even decide to specialize in helping prisoners reach their
    full earning potential, and thus pay back their victim quicker.”
    Ah, right – let’s bring back debtors prisons, since they have such a wonderful, humanitarian history.
    Please don’t ever get elected to any office. You are a madman.

    • Thank you for taking the time to respond. They never implied they are concerned with victim-less crimes, only racism.

  • Praetor

    Victimless crime just means you don’t need a cop. We all know the drug war is a complete joke. All you have to see are the poppy fields in Afghanistan.

    Question hardly ever asked what causes crime anyway. Desperation, loss of hope and an economy that has deteriorated to the point of almost non existences, this has become institutionalized over generations, and is spreading to new generations of people in other areas.

    Who caused this, government and their puke crony capitalist friends, they benefit big from these institutionalized crime generations, they are creating more crime families. People need work, not handouts from government. People need work not just to get a paycheck, work is hope, hope for a better future, for opportunity, to learn skills. Work is purpose. Life without purpose is a life lost and becomes a crime spree. Work is more than just a paycheck.

    Ben & Jerry, hippie multicultural marxist, they only see black and white. They made theirs didn’t they. Now they can be magnanimous.!!!

  • john cummins

    Yup, I’d point you all to the book Victim’s Rights by Gary North for the way justice should look.

  • Ai Mimi

    Nice share mgmdomino

  • Norm

    Who owns Ben and Kerry’s, didn’t they sell toa European group.?

  • Jen Lade

    I came for the extended ice cream metaphor, I stayed for the insightful social commentary.

  • aPEON

    “he only thing that could still cause corruption is coordination between prisons and the courts sending the prisoners there.”

    In your perfect world judges-[court]- would resist all attempts at bribery—–if you ever wonder why most do not buy you bs, it is for the above.

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