Puerto Ricanstruction: Plans to Move 3,200 Puerto Ricans to a For-Profit Prison in Arizona

PUERTO RICO PROTEST
In this May 29, 2013 file photo, protester Providencia Trabal stands behind bars in a mock cell during a protest demanding the freedom of jailed pro-independence activist Oscar Lopez Rivera in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Lopez was sentenced to 55 years after his conviction in 1981 on charges that included seditious conspiracy, use of force to commit robbery and interstate transportation of firearms as a member of the ultranationalist Armed Forces of National Liberation in a struggle for independence from the U.S. for the Caribbean island. He received an additional 15 years in 1988 after he was convicted of conspiring to escape from prison in Leavenworth, Kansas. Former President Bill Clinton offered in 1999 to release Lopez and 13 other Puerto Rican nationalists as part of what was at the time a politically sensitive clemency deal. Under the deal, Lopez would have had to serve 10 more years in prison. He rejected the offer because it did not include two comrades who have since been released Ricardo Arduengo / AP Photo
PUERTO RICO PROTEST
In this May 29, 2013 file photo, protester Providencia Trabal stands behind bars in a mock cell during a protest demanding the freedom of jailed pro-independence activist Oscar Lopez Rivera in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Lopez was sentenced to 55 years after his conviction in 1981 on charges that included seditious conspiracy, use of force to commit robbery and interstate transportation of firearms as a member of the ultranationalist Armed Forces of National Liberation in a struggle for independence from the U.S. for the Caribbean island. He received an additional 15 years in 1988 after he was convicted of conspiring to escape from prison in Leavenworth, Kansas. Former President Bill Clinton offered in 1999 to release Lopez and 13 other Puerto Rican nationalists as part of what was at the time a politically sensitive clemency deal. Under the deal, Lopez would have had to serve 10 more years in prison. He rejected the offer because it did not include two comrades who have since been released Ricardo Arduengo / AP Photo

Puerto Ricanstruction: Plans to Move 3,200 Puerto Ricans to a For-Profit Prison in Arizona

Each Monday, during the 2018 hurricane season, Worldview presents the series Puerto Ricanstruction, when we discuss post-Maria life in Puerto Rico, and issues that matter to the people living there, and to Chicago’s Puerto Rican Diaspora. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s unelected financial oversight board (PROMESA) passed austerity measures that introduced sweeping cutbacks for hundreds of institutions on the island. The fiscal plan included a policy that would offshore one-third of Puerto Rico’s prison population to private prisons in the U.S.. Human rights defenders call this new policy a form of “government sponsored human trafficking,” because prisoners are torn away from their families and are not informed about the details of the prison program. The government claims this new program would save the island around $400 million in the next four years. Critics claim this is another means to benefit private prison corporations and their investors. Joining us to discuss this new prison system is senior reporter at The Guardian, Oliver Laughland. He spent a week in Puerto Rican prisons last month for the story “After Maria, Puerto Rico to move 3,200 inmates to Arizona.”