The Student Lunch Debt Crisis: Are For-Profit Prisons the Answer?

Posted on by Stephenson Billings

We’ve all heard the stories of public-school kids gorging on meals they can’t afford. Some cities are trying to address this crisis by turning to private charities to pay down the bills. Others are taking a punitive approach, stripping student lunch debtors of their rights to vote in school elections.

But the outrageous burden on taxpayers continues to grow.

With thousands in uncollected fees, municipalities are being forced to make tough decisions. Many are forgoing tax breaks for homeowners. Some have even been forced to abandon multi-year, eight-figure subsidies of professional sports stadiums.  

Now, lobbyists for the America Cares Incarceration Foundation are proposing a novel solution. Their argument is that in the free market of ideas, our communities are missing out on potential million-dollar revenue streams.

For-profit juvenile prisons have been proven to reduce class sizes in our state-run schools. There is a major profit potential in this untapped workforce. Incarcerated minors could be using their tiny, agile hands for a variety of manufacturing jobs, from sewing those adorable WalMart baby clothes to assembling the camshafts for our Ford Raptors.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves believes in locking up children, but not coronavirus lockdowns.

Town managers looking to make aggressive pro-business moves could even finance this industry through bond measures backed by Wall Street if they commit to growth in our juvenile prison populations! Of course, this would necessitate raising lunch prices to insure a steady stream of young factory workers.

The result would be quick infusion of cash into local budgets. Those loans, in turn, would grow into hundreds of millions in debt that future generations (and likely Democratic administrations) would inherit.  

This idea of a lunch debt-private prison partnership is gaining traction in Washington, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has commissioned a panel of the industry lobbyists to write legislation for Republicans to rubber stamp.

Tate Reeves, the Governor of Mississippi, was one of the first to grasp the brilliance of the plan. “The millions we borrow from Wall Street could be handed over to private industry and a good share of that would come right back to us politicians through PACs and think tanks!” he has announced. “To maintain the Republican stranglehold on our communities, it’s vital that we incarcerate these lunch debtors early on so they’re stripped of the right to vote, insuring a conservative majority in our local elections for decades to come!”