Let them eat gruel

Nevada Department of Fuck the Poor

Internal memo:

Keeping the fiscally disadvantaged and residentially unencumbered in their places requires forethought and planning. Fortunately, history shows that, sooner or later, many desperate individuals step outside the bounds of law, thus qualifying for incarceration. This gives the NDFP a sense of buoyant hopefulness.

Though the Nevada prison population has more than doubled since 1990, there’s always room for more inmates. Indeed, expected growth in prison population will lead to a construction boom, with one new prison needed every two years. Taxpayers will gratefully pony up to keep the streets safe.

Currently, the cost of incarceration in Nevada runs a tad high at $17,700 per prisoner annually. This appears cost-efficient, however, when held up against the unconscionable national average of $22,673 per prisoner.

Nevada spends $2.20 per day per inmate for food, the best bargain in the nation, only slightly more than it spends feeding corralled wild horses. Lowering this cost remains a priority. One solution: Watery gruel. Adoption of gruel-based feeding programs could reduce prison feeding costs to $2.10 per day, a savings of 10 cents per each of Nevada’s 11,000 prisoners. It’s likely that, in resulting weakened conditions, prisoners would be less likely to riot or even cause a fuss. Experience illustrates that calorie-deficient prisoners are more likely to betray the indiscretions of other prisoners (aka “rat” them out), given the incentive of earning a snippet of cheese. This could lead to a savings in security costs—which, as we know, received the only significant prison funding raise ($838,000) during the 2005 Nevada Legislative session.

Some insist a link exists between education and incarceration, with 45 percent of Nevada’s inmates functioning below the eighth grade level, 58 percent without a GED or high school diploma and 65 percent lacking job training and work skills. It’s been observed that Nevada’s spending on students in the public school system ($6,400 per student) ranks 49th in the nation and might be a factor in the increased prison population. These realities, however, serve as optimistic indicators regarding the future of privileged populations. When the profoundly stupid drop out of public school, more resources become available for smart and privileged children, the CEOs of the future.

In addition, while an educated populace may lower the prison population, it would also decrease the number of workers available to fill low-paying jobs in the service industry. Until transnational corporations come up with a plan to outsource, say, dishwashing, slot-tending, burger-flipping and toilet-cleaning, Nevada must ensure its 38 percent high school drop-out rate, a healthy gain over the 30 percent drop-out rate a decade ago.

A dwindling impact of organized religion (a sad national trend) increases the difficulty of keeping socio-economic underlings in line. But with the help of media conglomerates, efforts are being made to numb populist discontent through so-called “reality TV” programming. The hopes of singing and skating one’s way to stardom or winning a million dollars by eating swine intestines lull the mindless into complacency.

Finally, to the question of prison “programming” to reduce recidivism, the doesn’t approve of fluffy education, gardening or music that offers incarcerated scoundrels any insight into modes of cooperation that could extend to life after release.

Until laws currently soft on execution are relaxed (pay-per-view beheadings are being explored by the NDFP as a possible new revenue stream), recidivism must be retained at high levels.

Prisoners (and “at-risk” public school students) must learn, upon entering the steely gates of Nevada’s prisons (and educational institutions), to “abandon hope all ye who enter here.”