Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, September 23, 2013

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.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've been warning for over 40 years starting with the Nixon war on crime that it was going to create a huge prison complex too large to handle financially. No one knew back then it would also create a huge private Industry as well. They've also allowed private companies to use prisoners for even upper scale labor such as operating call centers (between convicts and India the market is cornered),other jobs that are helping them earn huge profits on cheap labor, and bust Unions as well. The Public just figures "they need to pay for their crimes by hard work" but breaking rocks and chain gangs (except in Arizona) is pretty much a thing of the past.

I liken it also to those private colleges like University of Phoenix that are all owned by just a few corporations. Almost 75% of their money comes from the Student Loan programs, but unlike public universities that promise just an education, these are Vocational Schools that have a extremely low success rate in getting jobs for their graduates, so they have become not only the largest user, but also the largest drain on the Student loan system.

In both cases the CEO's of the Educational and the Prison Industries are Billionaires, vote Republican and go around proclaiming themselves self-made men while advocating "small Government"

BTW there was an Incident in Pennsylvania a few years ago where a Juvenile Court Judge took bribes to send the kids to a private facility. Many were for very minor crimes that usually warrant probation or a slap on the wrist. Many kids were incarcerated for something minor just to fatten the facility and the judge.


September 23, 2013 at 11:07 PM  
Blogger jadedj said...

Anytime a public institution goes private...bend over and look out motherfuckers (pardon my intended bad French)! Which adds to my already uber-cynicism regards how fucked up this country has gotten.

September 24, 2013 at 6:09 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: I didn't know that about the University of Phoenix. I've only known it as that annoying popup that comes sproinging into view right when I'm trying to concentrate on 2 or 3 things at once.

It was two judges who took bribes for sending juveniles to a private prison; it was in or near Scranton, PA. They were nicknamed the Kids For Cash judges. They got fairly long prison sentences, but nowhere near long enough.

jadedj: You're right. Privatization of public institutions = bend over and grab your ankles.

September 24, 2013 at 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've been warning for over 40 years starting with the LBJ war on poverty that it was going to create a huge complex of poor people too large to handle financially. No one knew back then it would also create a huge burden on taxpayers as well.

September 25, 2013 at 8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anytime a private institution goes public...bend over and look out motherfuckers

September 25, 2013 at 8:28 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

I've always maintained that the privatization of prisons is a right-wing wet dream. How cool is it to get paid for punishing people?

September 26, 2013 at 7:36 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Not only are they getting paid to punish people; they're getting paid out of people's tax dollars while preaching about austerity and self-reliance. Rightwing wet dreams don't get any wetter than that.

September 26, 2013 at 10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Teabaggers like private prisons about as much as they like buying gold while spreading hate and fear and obstructionism. A lot.

I didn't read the article links, maybe they mentioned the fucked up situation in Arizona, the new laws, and the ties Arizona politicians have to private prisons.

September 28, 2013 at 3:53 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Anonymous: I've heard Arizona is one of the worst states for private prisons.

September 28, 2013 at 11:06 AM  

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