Private Prisons: Even Worse Than You Thought
Whatever you’ve already heard or read about the private prison industry, it’s worse than you ever imagined. The immorality is bad enough: huge financial incentives to jail as many people as possible, prison owners and management being totally unaccountable to the public, etc.
But financially, private prisons are even more of a drain on taxpayers than we ever knew. The three largest private prison companies — Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), GEO Group and Management and Training Corporation — have all been including occupancy requirements in their contracts with state governments. The state is required to guarantee maximum occupancy for these private prisons. If the occupancy rate falls below a certain level — usually 80%, sometimes 100% — taxpayers have to reimburse the private prison company for its lost revenue.
Is it just me, or does this conflict with conservatives’ bootstraps/free enterprise rhetoric? A “private” company is financed by taxpayers, and reimbursed again by taxpayers when their “earnings” fall short — nice work if you can get it.
Also, the private prison industry has campaigned heavily for three-strikes laws, laws to increase prison sentences in general, and laws that would criminalize every imaginable type of private behavior. The more laws, the more “customers” the “private” prison industry can enjoy. So much for that “limited government” conservatives are always blubbering about.
This information was compiled by In The Public Interest.
Law and Order: SVU and CSI: New York have both had episodes featuring corrupt judges who worked hand in glove with a private prison. For every defendant convicted of a crime — no matter how petty — the judge received a “commission” from the private prison where this newly-convicted criminal got sent.
Unfortunately, those two TV episodes were not just fiction. They were based on something that’s happening in real life every day. And it’s getting worse.