GovCo: Red Light Scameras, Quotas & Private Prison Systems

Government has a job to do. Sadly in our day many government has its hands in things it doesn’t need to be involved with and thus ends up taxing more and spending more and actually doing a worse job at what they are supposed to be doing as a result. The Scriptures speak to the primary function of government being to punish evil doers and protect those that do good (Rom. 13:1-7). However, it now seems that government is so busy with other things, that it is incorporating private industry to help in taking care of the tasks it has been assign to do and this has many worried.

So what do small towns do when they can’t hire enough police? They look to private enterprises and things light the red light cameras, or as we call them where I live, the traffic “scameras.”

The sleepy little town of Prichard, Alabama has a budget of around $10.5 million, which they claim is barely enough to provide basic police and fire protection. Apparently the city has nearly 23,000 people who are considered impoverished.

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Mayor Ron Davis looked into iTraffic Safety, which helps turn commuters into money for the state and for the business, though they try to push that it is all really about safety. Sure it is!

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So how does this help out the city? The Birmingham News reports,

Essentially, iTraffic has offered to pay for Prichard Police officers to write speeding tickets. The company’s initial pitch, according to its contract with Prichard, was as follows:

iTraffic would provide the city with the equipment needed to set up speed traps and reimburse the city for the cost of the six officers needed to run them.

Should a speeder not show in court or pay the fine, iTraffic would even “assist the City in locating” the violator, according to the contract between the two parties.

In return, iTraffic asked for enough to cover its costs plus $35 per ticket thereafter.

So understand, the business has an incentive to press these officers for a quota. After all, if they are not making money, do you think they will continue funding the project? I doubt it.

Then there are the red light scameras.

ACLU policy analyst Jay Stanley says that companyies like iTraffic are more concerned with the money than public welfare. He says, “In some cases we’ve seen private companies outsourced to do red light cameras and the cameras were sited to maximize ticket revenue and not safety,”

In Center Point, a similar program with Arizona-based Redflex Inc. has already yielded that jurisdiction almost $500,000 in six months, according to the city’s financial records.

After sales taxes, the cameras are now the city’s second-largest revenue stream. The revenue is restricted by state law for public safety use only, but that hasn’t made them popular.

Yes, this is nothing more than money for nothing. Citizens are supposed to have a right to face their accuser, but not with the traffic scameras. It’s a photograph and we all know how trustworthy those are. What we don’t know are the settings of the scameras. We know there is a lot of money to be made, but many people forget the depravity of man and governments, even small ones, are more than happy to get their hands on extra cash.

But it doesn’t stop there Alabama also is farming out tax collections to private business as well. Again, what is the incentive for private business? To make money. They always get a cut of the funds.

As if this wasn’t enough, there are many things in which government looks for private business to do the job it is intrusted to do, including the prison system. This is the most frightening of the scenarios. America now has the highest ranking prisoner population in the world and now it’s begun looking to private prison systems, such as Corrections Corp of America (CCA) and GEO Group who demand a quota to operate. Private Prison systems is a $70 billion gold mine! While they save the state money, they demand a 90% occupancy rate.

Friends these are not good things. It’s one thing to have an electrician come and work on a problem in a government building. It’s quite another to start contracting private business when it comes to issues of the law. In the end, it isn’t about safety or security. It’s about money.

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