Corrections Corp. of America, which operates prisons and detention facilities, said Thursday its fourth-quarter profit climbed 37 percent, as inmate populations rose and new contracts went into effect. They profit at the expense of the human beings that are being held under their care. The allegations that follow CCA's misdeeds and malfunctions are too numerous to list but read how they make money here and still they continue to make money off the imprisonment of people.
In 1995, there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are at least 100, with some 62,000 inmates. That number is expected to hit 360,000 within a decade.
The two largest private prison corporations in the US, Wackenhut and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), are transnationals, managing prisons and detention centers in at least 13 states, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. A top performer on the New York Stock Exchange, CCA called California its “new frontier,” and boasts of investors such as Wal-Mart, Exxon, General Motors, Ford, Chevrolet, Texaco, Hewlett-Packard, Verizon, and UPS.
Employers don’t have to pay health or unemployment insurance, vacation time, sick leave or overtime. They can hire, fire or reassign inmates as they so desire, and can pay the workers as little as 21 cents an hour. The inmates cannot respond with a strike, file a grievance, or threaten to leave and get a better job.
Mass roundups of immigrants and non-citizens, currently about half of all federal prisoners, and dragnets in low-income ‘hoods have increased the prison population to unprecedented levels. Andrea Hornbein points out in Profit Motive: “The majority of these arrests are for low level offenses or outstanding warrants, and impact the taxpayer far more than the offense. For example, a $300 robbery resulting in a 5 year sentence, at the Massachusetts average of $43,000 per year, will cost $215,000. That doesn’t even include law enforcement and court costs.”
Nearly 75% of all prisoners are drug war captives. A criminal record today practically forces an ex-con into illegal employment since they don’t qualify for legitimate jobs or subsidized housing. Minor parole violations, unaffordable bail, parole denials, longer mandatory sentencing and three strikes laws, slashing of welfare rolls, overburdened court systems, shortage of public defenders, massive closings of mental hospitals, and high unemployment (about 50% for Black men) -- all contribute to the high rates of incarceration and recidivism. Thus, the slave labor pool continues to expand.
“In order to please shareholders, corporations must achieve growth. Empty cells do not generate profits.”
At the state level, revenue increased 9 percent to $168.5 million in the quarter, as inmate populations rose in Colorado, Minnesota, Hawaii, Wyoming and Washington.Read the article here