Prison Inc. : The Secret Industry

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There are 2.3 million people living behind bars in the United States
● The US prison system costs the federal government $55 billion every year

Prison VS. Jail

● Jails are locally-operated facilities that hold inmates for a short period of time
● Prisons are long-term facilities run by the state or federal government

Prison: A Growing Industry

Between 1990 and 2010, the number of privately operated prisons in the US increased 1600%
● Private prisons bring in roughly $3 billion in revenue every year
○ Over half of this comes from holding facilities for undocumented immigrants
■ Private prisons run over 50% of detainment facilities for immigrants

Big Business

Two of the biggest private prison companies in the country, Corrections Corporation of America and The GEO Group, made $3.3 billion in annual revenue in 2012.
● These two companies make up 75% of the private prison industry
○ CCA operates 67 prisons in the US
○ GEO Group operates 95 prisons in the U.S. and abroad

Cheap Labor
The prison industry makes money by contracting prison labor to private companies
● This includes
○ Starbucks
○ Boeing
○ Victoria’s Secret
○ McDonald’s
○ Prisoners work in apparel, document conversion, call centers, printing and clean energy
● A single prisoner’s labor is worth between 93 cents and $4 a day

The Government Paycheck
● “Lockup Quotas”: Contracts guarantee that prison occupancy rates will stay at or above a specified level
● “Low-Crime Taxes”: If occupancy rates are not fulfilled, the government must pay for the empty beds
● In contracts with the government, some private prison companies demand minimum occupancy levels of more than 0%

Price Per Prisoner
Average annual cost for correction expenses per inmate

● The national average for correction expenses per inmate was $28,323/year in 2010
● Harvard’s full-time tuition cost per year is $40,016
● In 2012, New York City spent almost $168,000 per inmate in food, housing and security
○ of that comes from taxpayer money

Crime Does Pay. But for Whom?

prison-thumb

Sources:
http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=qa&iid=322
http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/top-5-secrets-private-prison-industry-163005314.html
http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=4556
http://www.salon.com/2013/09/23/6_shocking_revelations_about_how_private_prisons_make_money_partner/
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/09/30/nyc-cost-per-inmate-almost-equals-ivy-league-education-expenses-tied-to-rikers/
http://www.gse.harvard.edu/admissions/financial_aid/tuition/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/19/private-prison-quotas_n_3953483.html

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