"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." - Thomas Jefferson (appears in the Jefferson Memorial)

Policy by profitability

We’ve railed against the idea of privately-run prisons for years, and the evidence against them mounts. A significant chunk has come in the last year or so from the Idaho Corrections Center, which is run by the Corrections Corporation of America.

The latest, in a report from the Associated Press, grows out of videos associated with a court case concerning violence at the facility (which has the nickname “Gladiator school”). (Watch the video.) From that report:

The videos show at least three guards watching as Elabed was stomped on a dozen times. At no time during the recorded sequence did anyone try to pull away James Haver, a short, slight man. About two minutes after Haver stopped the beating of his own accord, the metal cellblock door was unlocked. Haver was handcuffed and Elabed was examined for signs of life. He bled inside his skull and would spend three days in a coma.

CCA, the nation’s largest private prison company, said it was “highly disappointed and deeply concerned” over AP’s decision to release the videos.

You got that at the end, right? – that CCA was disappointed and concerned, not apparently so much that a man was nearly killed in violence that its employees could and should have stopped, but that AP released the video evidence of it.

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