Dr. Boyce Watkins Says Obama is Fueling the Prison Industrial Complex

It’s one thing to critique Pres. Obama, but it’s another thing to do so while distorting the facts. You know, sorta like the GOP is known to do? Having said that, I’m now wondering if my man, Dr. Boyce Watkins is on their payroll. He probably isn’t; however, what Dr. Watkins said via his YouTube channel about Obama fueling the Prison Industrial Complex by increasing the DOJ’s budget for 2013 was ignorant, and not quite scholarly.

All I’m gonna say is that Dr. Boyce Watkins is dead wrong on this one. Why? Because the proposed increase spending by the Obama Administration will be mostly used for much-needed ex-felon reëntry programs per the Second Chance Act signed into law on April 9, 2008. Increased spending will also target the mentally ill caught-up in the judicial system, by introducing more diversion programs. Last time I checked, of the 2 million or so people incarcerated in America, a significant number of them are mentally ill. So, it would appear that the Obama administration is attempting to reduce the number of individuals who would ordinarily be incarcerated by the 40-year-long failed drug war. This is good news, but don’t tell Watkins.

This from the White House:

The Budget provides $153 million in prisoner reëntry and jail diversion programs, including $80 million for the Second Chance Act programs and $52 million for problem-solving grants supporting drug courts, mentally ill offender assistance, and other problem-solving approaches. With 2.3 million people in U.S. prisons and 1 in 32 American adults under some kind of correctional supervision, these programs aim to divert individuals from incarceration, reduce recidivism, and achieve public safety in a more sensible way.

The People's Scholar: Dr. Boyce Watkins

I could be wrong, but I don’t think helping men and women transition back into society upon release from prison is a bad thing. Neither is attempting to fill prisons and jails with people in need of mental health services. But like I said, I’m not the smartest person in the world nor do I have a PhD, but said proposals are actually good measures. That is, unless you’re selling said proposed increases without facts to support your argument. Much respect to the good Doc, but he’s wrong.

While the budget increases federal prison spending by 4 percent over FY2012 “due to projected growth in the Federal detainee population,” the section also says “the Administration will also continue to explore opportunities to reduce the prison population, with a focus on non-violent offenders.” So, with that said, let’s see how else will Obama fuel the Prison Industrial Complex?

The Budget provides $257 million to support America’s first responders and the hiring and retention of police officers and sheriffs’ deputies across the country, and includes a preference for the hiring of post–9/11 veterans. This funding builds on the $166 million in COPS Hiring Grants funding enacted in 2012. These investments assist in building capacity to enable State and local law enforcement partners to make the most of their resources and encourage their most promising and effective public safety efforts. The Budget includes $4 billion in immediate assistance for the retention, rehiring, and hiring of police officers in 2012, as requested by the President in the American Jobs Act. States and localities will gain a preference for implementing programs and policies that focus on the recruitment of post–9/11 veterans for law enforcement positions.

Gee, hiring veterans doesn’t sound like a bad idea, Actually, as hard hit as local municipalities have been throughout the recession that saw many of them laying off police officers, this doesn’t sound like a bad idea. I mean, it’d not like everybody can sit around on YouTube saying stupid things.

Oh, and lastly, Obama will be filling the prisons with white-collar criminals:

Recent technological advances, particularly in methods of manufacturing and distribution, have created new opportunities for businesses of all sizes to innovate and grow. These advancements, however, have also created new vulnerabilities, which tech-savvy criminals are eager to exploit. As a result, there has been an alarming rise in intellectual property (IP) crimes, illegal activities that not only devastate individual lives and legitimate businesses, but undermine our financial stability and prosperity. Therefore, the Administration is devoting nearly $40 million to identify and defeat intellectual property criminals, an increase of $5 million over 2012. The Administration’s efforts have already resulted in shutting down 350 websites engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works. Additionally, international partnerships and joint initiatives have enabled experts to train or educate in IP protection more than 2,500 foreign judges, prosecutors, investigators, and other officials from over 30 countries.

Such an evil and diabolical plan must be stopped ladies and gentlemen. How dare our government seek to protect intellectual property of hard-working individuals from freeloaders from all over the world? Okay, don’t answer that question. What’s important to not here is that the good Doc may be feeling a little left out of the latest debates involving other public intellectuals like Dr. Cornel West. I mean why else would he be taking time out from grading papers, seeking tenure, or having sex with students (or whatever professors do these days), to post a video with such stupid talk as the following? Okay, so maybe it’s not an attention thing; maybe it’s not the fact that the Doc is attempting to be one of the cool kids on the block. Whatever the reason, it’s disappointing that much of what he says below is devoid of facts to support his claim.

I’m sorry, but you can’t be the “people’s scholar,” by lying to the people.

Now, what say you?