The Colorado Department of Corrections has decided to stay put in Colorado Springs, even though Pueblo tried to lure the agency with a generous $1.5 million handout.
There's an important lesson in this, for Pueblo and Colorado Springs: Handouts are unnecessary, and they usually don't work. In some cases, requests for corporate relocation handouts and tax breaks are nothing more than a scam. Genuine, sustainable business considerations are what determine the location of businesses and organizations.
The Colorado DOC is a key player in our relatively small country's dubious accomplishment of incarcerating more people than any other country on Earth - more than even China and India, which dwarf us in size. As part of this ever-expanding prison industrial complex, the Colorado DOC needs to expand its headquarters. No matter what's going on with the markets, we can count on the public/private incarceration industry to grow and drain the economy at tremendous taxpayer expense.
The expanding prison population in Colorado and the rest of the country is nothing other than pure economic drain. Every human put behind bars represents an enormous cost liability. Little is produced beyond state license plates, in some locations, and much is lost.
As prisoners rot behind bars, their families often end up on public assistance. Their children suffer neglect and some become lifelong public liabilities. It's an endless and growing cycle of debt, motivated mostly by expedient "tough on crime" politics and economic ignorance. Yes, violent criminals belong behind bars. But our country's prison obsession isn't about safety, it's mostly about money.