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Milton wrote ‘Paradise Lost’, remember- not ‘Paradise Penitentiary’.

DarinLand: From ‘Paradise’ to ‘Prison Town’?

Barbed tape at a prison
Image via Wikipedia

by Darin Lowery

Just when things were beginning to get comfy ‘n cozy here in good old Globe- the coffee house is the happening place to hang, the picture show opened and is filling seats, and even my grumpy neighbor cracks a smile occasionally- the City Council voted a ‘Boy Howdy’ on bringing a private prison to our happy little town.

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Milton wrote ‘Paradise Lost’, remember- not ‘Paradise Penitentiary’. I love the color orange, folks- right up there with black and white stripes- but that doesn’t mean Jailhouse Chic is making a comeback any time soon, at least in our neighborhood. A couple of convicts pouring concrete for a city project is fine- and we’re grateful for the manpower- but another prison? And this, one of the ‘private’ ones? Everything I’ve read notes they’re rife with scandal, corruption and violence. In comparison, state facilities don’t look so bad.

We’ve worked too hard to turn things around just to become another prison town.

I’ll leave it to the other writers on this site to quote you the stats: they’ve done their due diligence, unlike some of our (elected!) officials on the City Council. But we’re all human- perhaps government officials even more so (at least it sometimes appears that way, media-wise). Don’t get me wrong: this Council has made tremendous strides in an incredibly short period of time. Globe feels and looks like we’re on an upward trajectory, instead of, like a lot of towns and cities across the country, spiraling down so quickly all one hears is a giant sucking sound.

Want to really get our economy, our town and our livelihoods headed in the right direction? It’s not going to be from silver-tongued private prison officials, coming hat in hand offering questionable promises. We need to attract real businesses- companies who will have a stake in the community, who’ll give back to their new town in a variety of ways. Businesses whose employees want to make a home here; companies who will get their supplies and manpower from within our city limits. Men and women who care so much for their new home they make an effort to improve daily life here by getting involved; by volunteering, by making a commitment for progress.

Of course, we have a prison here, but it’s a state facility. The state has the manpower and the experience to do the job- maybe not perfectly, but better, I believe, than a corporation whose primary goal is to make as much money as possible- upfront, and in continuum. What sort of people trade in misery like that? ‘That’s right, Mom- I want to open a private prison when I grow up!’

Leave our little town alone, and go peddle your wares elsewhere. Globe needs real businesses, whether it’s corporate, industrial, manufacturing or ‘Mom ‘n Pop’ shops.

Anything but a private prison. Read the material that’s available and you’ll see how those rosy promises have backfired in so many other communities. There is no guarantee a new prison will be filled. We have enough empty buildings in Globe as it is.

I don’t know about you, but I think we can get to Paradise without building a private prison.

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