Tag: Private Prisons
The Florida Senate today put the kabosh on Republican plans to turn 30 state prisons into the largest private prison complex in the country. Florida incarcerates more than 100,000 inmates, making it the third largest incarcerator in the country (Only Texas and Calfornia have more inmates.).
As the ACLU says:
If lawmakers want to save money in our prison system, they should reform mandatory minimum sentencing, invest in re-entry programs and re-visit parole policies that feed the addiction to incarceration and throw people into the revolving door that is our prison system. Privatization schemes, often coupled with inflated claims of cost savings, distract policymakers from an inescapable truth: The best way to reduce prison spending is to reduce the number of people we imprison.
The profit motive is a huge part of the problem.
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There are two important TV programs to watch tonight.
- 9 p.m. (ET): CNBC will air "Billions Behind Bars: Inside America's Prison Industry." The program examines the multi-billion dollar industry of private prisons. The Justice Policy Institute (JPI) was consulted by CNBC producers throughout the making of the documentary following its release this summer of Gaming the System: How the Political Strategies of Private Prison Companies Promote Ineffective Incarceration Policies, which explored the political strategies private prison companies employ to influence policy.
- 9 pm ET: PBS: Lost in Detention, FRONTLINE and the Investigative Reporting Workshop examine the Obama administration’s controversial get-tough immigration policy. [More...]
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The Justice Policy Institute has released a new report on how private prisons game the system, creating a perceived need for their services. How they do it: Lots of money spent on lobbying and campaign contributions.
You can read the full report here. The upshot:
“Research has shown that private prisons do not save taxpayer dollars and can in fact cost taxpayers more than public prisons. Additionally, privatizing prisons may undermine cost effective sentencing reforms and increase recidivism rates. Despite these well-documented concerns, private prison companies continue to promote policies that put money in their pockets and people behind bars.”
What would be better than private prisons? [More...]
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The company is California-based Court Services Inc. (CSI), which denies the allegations. In the case Hooper explores today, a prisoner being transferred from San Diego to Aspen, Sheriff Bob Braudis is not only refusing to pay the company's fee, he's reimbursing the prisoner's mother and sister for their travel expenses to Aspen, where they went to protest what happened.
In other words, the sheriff's office is bankrolling the protest of its own jail.“We’re going to pay for their expenses out here,” said [Undersheriff Joe] DiSalvo, estimating the cost at around $1,300. “They should be compensated for bringing something that’s really important to us — a human rights issue — to our attention. If they hadn’t picketed, we probably would’ve kept using that service.”
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Forbes reports that Corrections Corp. of America saw a 37% profit increase in the 4th quarter of 2006.
For the full fiscal year, Corrections Corp.'s profit more than doubled to $105.2 million, or $1.71 per share, from $50.1 million, or 83 cents per share in 2005.
The principal reason seems to be that demand is up at both the state and federal levels. Prison occupancy rates rose to 97%.
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