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Articles by Ken Silverstein

Prison Postcards: Prisoners Write About Fears, Incompetence, at Their Facilities

On April 15, President Donald Trump announced that the coronavirus pandemic had peaked in the United States. That same day, nearly 2,300 people in the country died from COVID-19, the disease cause by the virus, which was the highest tally in a single day. The following day the number nearly doubled.

That brought the nationwide death toll to more than 35,000 and the number of cases to about 650,000. The U.S. has slightly more than 4% of the world population but, rather astonishingly, nearly one-third of all global cases and more than one-fifth of all deaths as of April 16.

All this raises serious doubts about whether or not the incidence of coronavirus will decline significantly any time soon, as the president optimistically stated. Predicting how a global pandemic will unfold is a fool’s errand, as the coronavirus outbreak has well demonstrated. The media has trotted out “scientific” models that show sharply different outcomes, with some allegedly reputable experts having claimed up to 2 million Americans will die while others say the death count will be around 60,000.

One thing that’s absolutely clear, though, is that the situation is particularly dire in America’s carceral complex, with the ...

What’s It Like Inside? Early Snapshots from Prisons During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As we are putting together the April issue of PLN, the situation with the novel coronavirus is changing by the hour, if not the minute. In the United States, the number of cases has climbed from 213 on March 8 to 173.041 on March 31 — and that’s sure to be an undercount since testing is barely off the ground. U.S. deaths as of March 31 had risen to 3,433, according to The New York Times.

It’s impossible to know how severe the coronavirus outbreak will be, but if ever there was a country primed for an epidemic, the U.S. is it. We have a serious shortage of hospital beds and ventilators. With no universal healthcare and a good chunk of the population without paid sick leave or money to pay for treatment, it’s safe to say things will get a lot worse — even with elected officials finally starting to act, some two months after the first case was confirmed in the U.S.

Schools, bars, restaurants, movie theaters and many workplaces are finally being shut down across the country. On March 19, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced extraordinary measures directing all 40 million California ...

America's Private Gulag

What is the most profitable industry in America? Weapons, oil and computer technology all offer high rates of return, but there is probably no sector of the economy so abloom with money as the privately-run prison industry.

Consider the growth of the Corrections Corporation of America, the industry leader whose ...