It is simple math. The goal of a private prison company is profit. More inmates, more $. The Public Interest, an oversight group, issued a report in September revealing the details of prison contracts between private corporations and states and local governments. Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group have contracts requiring extremely high occupancy levels. If the prison occupancy declines below the level required in the contract, then the government pays the private company for empty prison beds.
Louisiana, Oklahoma and Virginia have contracts with the highest occupancy guarantee requirements. All three states have quotas requiring between 95% and 100% occupancy. Colorado’s crime rate has dropped almost 33 percent in the past decade. Despite the drop in crime, lock up quotas for three for-profit prisons has forced taxpayers in Colorado to pay an additional $2 million to the private prisons. Arizona has three private prison contracts requiring 100 percent occupancy.
Cell bed quotas are incentives for incarceration. The report shows that the private prison industry has lobbied for laws that increase mandatory minimum sentencing, three strike laws, and stricter drug sentences. All of this effort to maintain or increase the prison population.
The United States has more inmates than any other country. Cell bed quotas and private prison companies contribute to this damning statistic. The American society does not benefit from cell bed quotas and private prison profiteering.