The Humble Libertarian

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

World's Prison Capital is Also #1 in For-Profit Prisons

In America the Prison Industrial Complex is a thriving business.  With 5% of the world's population, America holds the dubious distinction of having 25% of the world's prison population and it's growing.  The Prison Industrial Complex lobbies to criminalize more and more ordinary human behavior as cities and states sign private prison contracts to guarantee a minimum occupancy rate of 90%.
The U.S. prison business has become the essence of predatory corporatism: it privatizes profits and socializes losses....
Corrections Corporation of America has led the charge toward creating a sound business model for those who would profit from crime and punishment since it won the first private prison contract from Tennessee in 1984. CCA has expanded nicely, recently submitting letters to 48 states with an offer to buy their prisons: "In exchange ... for a 20-year management contract, plus an assurance that the prison would remain at least 90 percent full."
America already holds 25% of the world's prison population, with the number of these prisoners held in private prisons rising dramatically over the past 10 years from 2,000 housed in 5 private prisons, to more than 60,000 housed in 100. It is a number expected to rise to 360,000 prisoners over the next decade.  Moreover, as the economy declines, there has even been a revival in debtors prisons, formally abolished in the early 1800s. Perhaps more troubling is the heightened criminalization of children for behavior which previously was considered merely a nuisance, not something worthy of handcuffs and the big house.
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Judy Morris,
Blogger, THL
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