Private Prisons are a Bad Idea

c39ePrivate Prisons are a Bad Idea

New Hampshire House Votes To Prohibit Private Prisons | ThinkProgress

 

At its core, the entire private prison industry profits when people are imprisoned, meaning stricter drug and immigration laws produce larger profits. Private prison operators know this, and have spent more than $45 million on lobbying federal and state lawmakers over the past decade, including top Republicans influencing the immigration debate. Indeed, the CEO of one of the largest private prison groups, the Corrections Corporation of America, assured investors on a recent call that there would continue to be “strong demand” for prison cells, even after immigration reform. The industry stands to rake in $5.1 billion detaining immigrants alone.

Though conservatives regularly argue privatizing industries makes them leaner and more cost-effective, the opposite is true for prisons. In Arizona, for example, private prisons cost $3.5 million per year more than state-run prisons. In Florida, the state has started laying people off after privatizing prisoners’ health care. In addition, private prisons are riddled with violations, including emergency procedures and cleanliness.

New Hampshire House Votes To Prohibit Private Prisons | ThinkProgress

Some services, some activities, have to be kept public because their importance is such that debating them solely from a monetary aspect diminishes intelligent decision making.  And we’re talking about the deprivation of freedom, a subject of some importance. What reduces crime while safeguarding the interests of the individual? How many subjects of such importance do we discuss as a society?

James Pilant

From the web site, National Prison Divestment: (I love these guys!)

As the immigration reform debate heats up, an important argument has been surprisingly missing. By granting legal status to immigrants and ordering future flows, the government could save billions of dollars. A shift to focus border security on real crime, both local and cross-border, would increase public safety and render a huge dividend to cash-strapped public coffers.

This kind of common-sense immigration reform has the multibillion-dollar private prison industry shaking in its boots. Its lobbyists are actively targeting members of congressional budget and appropriations committees to not only maintain, but increase incarceration of migrants — with or without comprehensive immigration reform.

While a broad public consensus has formed around the need to legally integrate migrants into the communities where they live and work, private prison companies Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and The GEO Group, thrive off laws that criminalize migrants, including mandatory detention and the definition of immigration violations as felonies. They are using their money and clout to assure that even if immigration reform goes through, the practice of locking people up for immigration infractions will continue.

From the web site, Student Activism: (This is a great blog, you should consider subscribing.)

Controversial private prison company the GEO Group announced yesterday that it is pulling out of a deal to buy naming rights for the Florida Atlantic University football stadium.

GEO’s prisons, including immigration detention centers and juvenile correctional facilities, have been the sites of a long list of documented violations of prisoners’ rights, and students have been protesting the FAU stadium naming deal since it was announced in February, staging public demonstrations and referring to the new stadium as “Owlcatraz.” The university, however, had until yesterday given GEO and the deal vocal public support, insisting that it would go forward.

From the web site, Prisonmovment’s Webblog: (I like the phrase, “cesspool of filth and decay,” it’s clever.)

How would you describe an industry that wants to put more Americans in prison and keep them there longer so that it can make more money?  In America today, approximately 130,000 people are locked up in private prisons that are being run by for-profit companies, and that number is growing very rapidly.  Overall, the U.S. has approximately 25 percent of the entire global prison population even though it only has 5 percent of the total global population.  The United States has the highest incarceration rate on the entire globe by far, and no nation in the history of the world has ever locked up more of its own citizens than we have.  Are we really such a cesspool of filth and decay that we need to lock up so many of our own people?  Or are there some other factors at work?  Could part of the problem be that we have allowed companies to lock up men and women in cages for profit?  The two largest private prison companies combined to bring in close to $3,000,000,000 in revenue in 2010, and the largest private prison companies have spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions over the past decade.  Putting Americans behind bars has become very big business, and those companies have been given a perverse incentive to push for even more Americans to be locked up.  It is a system that is absolutely teeming with corruption, and it is going to get a lot worse unless someone does something about it.

From the web site, Prison Pork:

From The Daily Kos – ” I have a new and self-imposed policy that I follow when I see a news report of some bull-headed politician proposing some law to put low-level drug possessors in prison. That rule? Follow the money, of course.Because something hideous is festering under the surface of these laws. It’s the private prison lobby, which makes campaign contributions to secure harsher penalties. You see, these prison companies are in need of warm bodies, since they can put those people to work inside the walls of those prisons. The companies double-dip, too, pulling in a guaranteed sum from the state in addition to whatever they can make with their legalized slave labor. Weed offenders are just the sorts of people these prison profiteers are looking for. They’re mostly non-violent people who will comply. They can be put to work without much worry.This week, Indiana got into the mix, as its governor Mike Pence pushed for changes to legislation on drug crime. Among his suggested changes:

Tougher marijuana possession and dealing penalties could be added to a proposed overhaul of Indiana’s criminal sentencing laws by legislators after Gov. Mike Pence questioned whether the plan was strict enough on low-level drug offenders. One proposed change expected to be voted on Thursday would make possession of between about one-third of an ounce and 10 pounds of marijuana the lowest-level felony rather than the highest-level misdemeanor.

Why would this Republican governor suggest policies designed mostly for the destruction of communities and budgets alike? Mostly because he and others are politically aligned with the very prison companies that run the show.

 

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