Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) was launched 32 years ago by two former military officers and a former prison administrator. It was the first for-profit prison company in 20th century America. Today, CCA is the largest private prison company in the United States and its income exceeded 1.7 billion. Since 1980, our prison population has increased almost 800%. This alarming statistic has by far outpaced our crime rate and the population rate of the United States. The United States has 25% of the world’s inmates despite having only 5% of the world’s population.
Private prison companies are not concerned about our shameful mass incarceration crisis. CCA stated in their 2011-10 K report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission:
“The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by criminal laws.”
For-profit prison companies control almost 20% of federal prisons. The number of immigrants detained in federal prisons have increased from 6,423 in 1991 to 32,095 in 2011. The non-profit Detention Watch Network has reported that almost 50% of the immigrants incarcerated by the federal government are locked up in private prisons. NPR has reported that CCA for many years “was involved in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization of state legislators and corporations that drafted the basis for Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB1070 and that has consistently advocated for harsh sentencing and detention laws.”
We have to ask ourselves whether for-profit prison companies really want a lower recidivism rate which means reduced profit for the private prison companies or are the for-profit prison companies want to maintain the status quo. CCA in a March 2012 investor presentation bragged that incarceration “creates predictable revenue streams,” and that private prisons are a “Unique Investment Opportunity.”
By: Bradley Schwartz
Founder of prisonpath.com