Why is St. Louis a focal point in the fight to end Mass Incarceration?
St. Louis is also home to one of the largest prison goods and services contractors in the country - Keefe Group. Keefe Group is a subsidiary of Centric Group and is owned by St. Louis based Enterprise Holdings. Enterprise Holdings was founded by St. Louis native Jack Taylor in 1957 and has been run and managed by his family ever since. In 1974 the Taylor's started the Centric group in order to house the other business ventures Enterprise was involved in. One of those ventures was the Keefe group, which has since grown to be one of the largest prison goods and technology products contractors in the country. Keefe now has contracts with 800 correctional facilities nationwide with distribution centers all across the United States; however, the head of this major operation -Andrew Taylor- lives right here in St. Louis, which makes it easy to target him with our demands for reform.
What is Mass Incarceration?
Mass Incarceration is the terminology used to describe the over use of correctional facilities as a solution to public safety. In the past 30 years or so, the US prison population has grown over 500%. Currently there are roughly 2.2 million americans housed in facilities across the country. Our country holds 5% of the worlds total population, yet is responsible for the confinement of about 25% of the known prisoners in the world!
The victims of mass incarceration in the US are often low income people of color. Mass incarceration subsequently destroys the economies and family structures in the already marginalized neighborhoods inmates tend to come from. Furthermore The families and loved ones of incarcerated men and women are left to not only financially support their loved ones behind bars, but also to fill the emotional and social voids created when they were stripped from their lives.
Who profits from private prisons?
Companies that contract with correctional facilities to provide goods and services for the inmates operate on a user-paid business model. This means that all of the goods and services companies are contracted to provide are paid for by the families and loved ones of the incarcerated individual on the receiving end. The prices set by these companies are often times marked up anywhere between 15-80% above market rate, making it extremely difficult for poor families to provide for themselves and the needs of their incarcerated loved ones. This system exploits low income communities. Decarcerate STL is determined to dismantle the system of Mass Incarceration by exposing all of the players and institutions that hold the system in place for their own benefit.
The Cycle of Mass Incarceration
Who are some of our targets?
How are they connected?