Private Prisons

The cruel business of horrifying private prisons will probably continue and even expand in the next few years, unfortunately. If you want an inside look at a private prison, by a journalist who infiltrated as an employee, there’s an incredible expose that was published this year. Profiting off locking people up is sickening, and therefore, private prisons should be ended.

Big Pharma isn’t the only one salivating at the golden prospects of no regulation or control of their blood-sucking, predatory profiteering and price gouging now that the party of Greed Over People will be in control of all three branches of government for the foreseeable future.

Things changed dramatically during the Reagan Administration and his so-called “War on Drugs.” As a result of that ill-considered and destructive policy, the prison population began increasing rapidly. After being awarded a contract to operate a jail in Hamilton County, Tennessee, the CCA offered to take over the Volunteer State’s entire correctional system for the bargain price of $200 million. Wisely, public employee unions and the state government opposed the offer. Nonetheless, the idea caught on in other regions of the country and a new, predatory industry was born.

By 2011, the private prison industry had grown into a $5 billion a year industry. This has not been lost on Wall Street, which has invested heavily in private prisons. In only 13 years, the price for CCA stock went from $1 to over $34 per share. Journalist Chris Hedges calls it a “lucrative [and] hugely profitable” industry.

Despite its profitability, there are several legitimate concerns about the private prison industry and corruption among lawmakers and judges who stand to gain from an exploding prison population isn’t the least of it. Last summer, an article appearing on the Canadian website Global Research reported that private prisons represent “a new form of inhumane exploitation,” in which inmates primarily African-American and Hispanic are forced to work for other private companies for as little as .25 cents an hour.

Today, there are around 2 million inmates being detained in private prisons in a country that has more of its people behind bars than any other nation on earth (including repressive regimes like China and Russia). Shareholders with a financial stake in this new form of slavery lobby legislators, pushing for longer sentences and more laws that will insure an abundant supply of virtually free labor.

And that prison population is growing, despite overall reductions in the crime rate. Non-violent drug offenders are given draconian sentences for possession of small amounts of controlled substances (primarily crack and marijuana the drugs of choice for those of low socio-economic status).