Private Prisons: The More Americans They Put Behind Bars The More Money They Make

By Michael

Private Prisons: The More Americans They Put Behind Bars The More Money They Make - Photo by Tony Hisgett

How would you describe an industry that wants to put more Americans in prison and keep them there longer so that it can make more money?  In America today, approximately 130,000 people are locked up in private prisons that are being run by for-profit companies, and that number is growing very rapidly.  Overall, the U.S. has approximately 25 percent of the entire global prison population even though it only has 5 percent of the total global population.  The United States has the highest incarceration rate on the entire globe by far, and no nation in the history of the world has ever locked up more of its own citizens than we have.  Are we really such a cesspool of filth and decay that we need to lock up so many of our own people?  Or are there some other factors at work?  Could part of the problem be that we have allowed companies to lock up men and women in cages for profit?  The two largest private prison companies combined to bring in close to $3,000,000,000 in revenue in 2010, and the largest private prison companies have spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions over the past decade.  Putting Americans behind bars has become very big business, and those companies have been given a perverse incentive to push for even more Americans to be locked up.  It is a system that is absolutely teeming with corruption, and it is going to get a lot worse unless someone does something about it.

One of the keys to success in the private prison business it to get politicians to vote your way.  That is why the big private prison companies spend so much money on lobbying and campaign contributions.  The following is an excerpt from a report put out by the Justice Policy Institute entitled “Gaming the System: How the Political Strategies of Private Prison Companies Promote Ineffective Incarceration Policies“…

For-profit private prison companies primarily use three strategies to influence policy: lobbying, direct campaign contributions, and building relationships, networks, and associations.

Over the years, these political strategies have allowed private prison companies to promote policies that lead to higher rates of incarceration and thus greater profit margins for their company. In particular, private prison companies have had either influence over or helped to draft model legislation such as “three-strikes” and “truth-in-sentencing” laws, both of which have driven up incarceration rates and ultimately created more opportunities for private prison companies to bid on contracts to increase revenues.

If you can believe it, three of the largest private prison companies have spent approximately $45,000,000 combined on lobbying and campaign contributions over the past decade.

Would they be spending so much money if those companies did not believe that it was getting results?

Just look at what has happened to the U.S. prison population over the past several decades.  Prior to 1980, there were virtually no private prisons in the United States.  But since that time, we have seen the overall prison population and the private prison population absolutely explode.

For example, between 1990 and 2009 the number of Americans in private prisons grew by about 1600 percent.

Overall, the U.S. prison population more than quadrupled between 1980 and 2007.

So something has definitely changed.

Not that it is wrong to put people in prison when they commit crimes.  Of course not.  And right now violent crime is rapidly rising in many of our largest cities.  When people commit violent crimes they need to be removed from the streets.

But when you put those criminals into the hands of private companies that are just in it to make a buck, the potential for abuse is enormous.

For example, when auditors visited one private prison in Texas, they “got so much fecal matter on their shoes they had to wipe their feet on the grass outside.

The prisoners were literally living in their own manure.

How would you feel if a member of your own family was locked up in such a facility?

And the truth is that there seem to be endless stories of abuse in private prisons.  One private prison company reportedly charges inmates $5.00 a minute to make phone calls but only pays them $1.00 a day to work…

Last year the Corrections Corporation of America(CCA), the nation’s largest private prison company, received $74 million of taxpayers’ money to run immigration detention centers. Their largest facility in Lumpkin, Georgia, receives $200 a night for each of the 2,000 detainees it holds, and rakes in yearly profits between $35 million and $50 million.

Prisoners held in this remote facility depend on the prison’s phones to communicate with their lawyers and loved ones. Exploiting inmates’ need, CCA charges detainees here $5 per minute to make phone calls. Yet the prison only pays inmates who work at the facility $1 a day. At that rate, it would take five days to pay for just one minute.

Speaking of work, private prisons have found that exploiting their inmates as a source of slave labor can be extraordinarily profitable.  Today, private prisons are stealing jobs from ordinary American workers in a whole host of industries.  The following is from an article by Vicky Pelaez

According to the Left Business Observer, the federal prison industry produces 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98% of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93% of paints and paintbrushes; 92% of stove assembly; 46% of body armor; 36% of home appliances; 30% of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21% of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.

And many of the largest corporations in America have rushed in to take advantage of this pool of very cheap slave labor.  Just check out some of the big names that have been exploiting prison labor…

At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. Inmates in state penitentiaries generally receive the minimum wage for their work, but not all; in Colorado, they get about $2 per hour, well under the minimum. And in privately-run prisons, they receive as little as 17 cents per hour for a maximum of six hours a day, the equivalent of $20 per month. The highest-paying private prison is CCA in Tennessee, where prisoners receive 50 cents per hour for what they call “highly skilled positions.” At those rates, it is no surprise that inmates find the pay in federal prisons to be very generous. There, they can earn $1.25 an hour and work eight hours a day, and sometimes overtime. They can send home $200-$300 per month.

But of course some of the biggest profits for private prisons come from detaining young people.  Today, private prison companies operate more than 50 percent of all “youth correctional facilities” in the United States.

And sometimes judges have even been bribed by these companies to sentence kids to very harsh sentences and to send them to their facilities.  The following is from a report about two judges in Pennsylvania that were recently convicted for taking money to send kids to private prisons…

Michael Conahan, a former jurist in Luzerne County, was sentenced on Friday to 210 months in custody by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Edwin M. Kosik II. Conahan was also ordered to pay $874,000 in restitution. […] As Main Justice reported in August, Ciavarella, former president judge of the Court of Common Pleas and former judge of the Juvenile Court for Luzerne County, was sentenced to 28 years in prison and ordered to make restitution of $965,930. […]

Conahan’s role in the “cash for kids” scheme was to order the closing of a county-run detention center, clearing the way for Ciavarella, once known as a strict “law and order” judge, to send young offenders to private facilities. This arrangement worked out well for Ciavarella and Conahan, as well as the builder of the facilities and a developer, who pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

The arrangement didn’t work out so well for the young offenders, some of them sent away for offenses that were little more than pranks and would have merited probation, or perhaps just scoldings, if the judges had tried to live up to their oaths.

Are you starting to see why private prisons are such a problem?

Hundreds of kids had their lives permanently altered by those corrupt judges.

When you allow people to make money by locking other people up in cages, you are just asking for trouble.

The more Americans they put behind bars, the more money these private prisons make.  It is a system that needs to be brought to an end.

So what do you think?

Do you believe that private prisons are a good idea or a bad idea?

Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…

They Will Lock You Up Too If They Get The Chance - Photo by Barnellbe


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  • Newspeak

    Is this where “Made in the USA” is going?

  • Ken Brodeur

    What is taking place in the USA is an ‘Olde Regime’ of internationalists, royalty, bankers that need to bring the US down to bring in the ‘New World Order’. If you enslave as many Americans as possible you can use this huge slave labor force to drive down the salaries of Americans not in prison. This along with the international attempt to bring as many foreigners to the US to take jobs legally and illegally will also bring down the price for labor until finally you no longer have a middle class. It takes a middle class to enforce any sort of democratic system.

    The good news is that most Americans are becoming vastly aware of this and the continued pressure to eliminate one of the most insane industries, government, controlled by monopolistic industries, will fail, probably sooner than later.

    I see the lack of respect for odious laws everywhere and the lack of funds it takes to run a government, which is always inefficient, no matter how much money The Fed prints. Signs are present everywhere in which people have simply tuned out the propaganda machine, whether TV, radio, Newspaper or tabloid and are starting to find other sources for what people really need and want.

    The Elite cannot control the internet for their total control, cause the cats out the bag and once known it is nearly impossible to ‘rebrainwash’ people.

    Collapse is good, for the common man, horrible for the elite. People will grow food and find they can live better. It will happen, necessity is the mother of invention, not a corporate board room.

    • Newspeak

      I am not disagreeing with you. It seems that the conspiracy around is actually not a theory. Great post!

      • Karen Norman

        One other factor to consider is ‘Agenda 21’, which is also known as ‘sustainable developement’. Agenda 21 is an elite agenda to diminish the world population by 90%. You see the elite know the general population is evolving. This became evident at the beginning of the last century, in 1900, when it was found that people were increasing by 3 IQ points every decade. This evolution has been coined the ‘Flynn Effect’, after the New Zealand psychologist who uncovered this rise in IQ. It is for this reason copious amounts of fluordide, which is an s6 and s7 poison, has been added to all drinking water. You see fluoride is a neurotoxin that reduces intelligence. It was also used in Russian Gulags at one time to keep the people compliant, because it lowers testosterone levels in men. Add to this Monsanto’s toxic food, and vaccinations that are laced with formaldehyde, mercury, aluminium, and MSG, and you have an elite eugenics agenda to dumb down the general population, and shorten their life span. You see the elite know they cannot control 7 billion people so they want to reduce the number of people on earth drastically, and dumb down the remaining population so they will not challenge the elite’s right to rule. The people who are currently ruling this planet have gained their power through murder, fraud, theft, and other atrocities that defy the average person’s imagination. What we have is a global crime syndicate that is run by the most heinous mob of criminals that ever walked this planet. This is why Lucky Luciano claimed that he had joined the wrong mob as he was being hauled off to prison. He was referring to Wall Street.

        The elite are currently using war in the middle east, which is a bonus for them because it kills the West’s fighting men at the same time, and just to make sure they don’t come home and pose a problem they cover amunition with depleted uranium so everything becomes radioactive and contaminates everyone. This is why there is a mounting level of disfigurement in babies in war torn areas of the middle east, and this is also why returning vets sufferef from the Gulf War syndrome. General Smedley Butler said it all with his book ‘War is a Racket’, because it makes the elite wealthier and kills off lots of the general public. Toxic immunisations given to our troops is another means by which the elite make sure that these highly trained men will not pose any future threat. Many troops are waking up which is evident from the fact that 50% of all deaths of US soldiers is due to suicide, and one would have to query whether these troops are actually killing themselves or whether they are being assassinated to quell dissention. This is why there has been such a push for more effective means for killing people, such as drones and robots. This way a small amount of people can control a large amount of machines, from a distance, which makes it virtually impossible for people to protect themselves or fight back.

        I imagine the prison industrial complex is essential to the building of the elite’s equipment for their army, because the cost of so many years of war, and the people’s dissatisfaction with the ruling elite, is making it harder and harder for them to keep spending copious amounts of tax payers money on wars initiated by false flags. The prison industrial complex also makes sure that there will be no shortage of slave labour, so it reduces their need for the people. No doubt this is why the elite in the US have literally declared war on its own people and removed habeaus corpus via the Patriot Act. They have the workforce they need via the prison industrial complex so that makes the rest of the American people expendable. If people refuse to pay their taxes to fund their own demise they are simply thrown in prison.

        • evan barre

          Oh my god you’re fuckin paranoid.

          • Guest

            evan barre go back to sleep with your sheep dumbass Karen is right on the money.. google operation end game, Rex84 why does the Government have 10,000 guillotine’s and millions of plastic coffins at these so called FEMA camps last year there were over 800 of these camps around the USA. PARANOID you say start reading and get educated and wake the hell up.. once you know who runs the government and thier plans are you should be worried…. Karen Norman good read..thanks…Evan you better start figuring out what the hell is going on or you will be stuck in a FEMA camp ready to be terminated…” off with his head” also look at your history books… why… because history repeats itself…..Hitler had concentration camps ( or FEMA camps today we call them ) also read the Communist Manifesto by Carl Marks….great read by the way.. it kind of fits in what is going on today..OH here is another great read…The Protocals of the Learned Elders of Zion…then read the Protocols and Zionist Occupied Governments..those are just starters…try and look up The Northwoods document..from 1962 (or 63)..figure out what a False Flag operation is..all through history we have been lied to by our own Government. It pisses me off that so many people have no idea what is about to happen, we are being taken over by terrorist’s in our own Government that are distroying America as we know it.. These trrorist wear suits and ties and some wear skirts..don’t believe me…find out who Barry Soetoro is …this may shock you…and look up his parents and relatives Party Affiliation can you spell COMMUNIST PARTY.. OH EVAN so much to learn..
            Barry Soetoro is using the U.S. Constitution as toliet paper while he is in the white house..not too mention Barry Barrck Soetoro Hussain Obama is NOT a citizen of the United States…he is a fruad in the white house.. He hasn;t kept 1 of his promises he made while he was running for the Presidency. Other then change, change for the worst America has ever seen.. Traitor and Chief I say..anyways don’t take my word.. look this stuff up it is all there, I gave you some great leads and you will find this is only the begining of this rabbit hole it just keeps going and going…please wake up and when you do send this info to your family and friends the ones you care about because they will also be at your local FEMA camp getting ready for termination by Guillotine..

        • marvin nubwaxer

          another wacko from the alex jones army.

    • SisterElaine Muhummad

      correct. i cant wait for collapse. We can do better. you can only build anew on the ashes of the old.

  • Jolly Roger

    And because of this wonderful business, there are now more men being raped than women in this country.

    At least one prison company is saving a few bucks by allowing the prison gangs to provide “security”, including making cell assignments (put that cute one in my cell).

    I hope all the idiots that jumped on the “get tough on crime” and “rights are only for criminals” bandwagons get locked up in there for missing a few credit card payments, because they’re debtors’ prisons now too.

    This is the America you begged for after you allowed the television to do all your thinking for you.

  • Stinking Jews at Disqus

    And because of this wonderful business, there are now more men being raped than women in this country.

    Atleast one prison company is saving a few bucks by allowing the prison gangs to provide “security”, including making cell assignments (put that cute one in my cell).

    I hope all the idiots that jumped on the “get tough on crime” and “rights are only for criminals” bandwagons get locked up in there for missing a few credit card payments, because they’re debtors’ prisons now too.
    This is the America you begged for after you allowed the television to do all your thinking for you.

  • Insomniac

    Most of the prisons do not give the inmate a dime for mopping a floor for 8 hours or fixing all of the showers and toilets. The only people paid are guards. Everything else is done by inmates. Keeping the grounds clean and pretty, cooking all of the meals, painting, fixing whatever breaks (except security measures) and whatever else some sadistic guard decides to have them do. Most places do not have anything to offer someone who has graduated high school or has a GED except monotonous work for no pay. Texas is probably the worst for slave labor. They charge a fortune for commissary items whether it is a cheap shampoo like Suave or a bag of chips. All that money goes to build more prisons to enslave more non-violent offenders. Cops set people up in order to get promotions and make a name for themselves. They prey on the young, dumb ones full of trust and who don’t know any better so they can ruin their lives and lock them up. Back when this started, there wasn’t an internet for most people to see what they really do, so I hope that all young people can learn what the game is with this atrocious prison system and don’t end up in one.

  • Adam

    I was in jail several times for short periods of a few days each so my experience is minimal. But I can say this, the inmates were much better people than the guards. I would take them as friends any day of the week. I also became aware of how clueless the general public is to the conditions in the jails. I had no idea the mean-spirited corruption of the slave holders for that is what we have in the US, institutionalized slavery. According to the constitutional amendment ending slavery, only the state has the right to have slaves. Now that there are private prisons we have blatant private slavery again. Private prisons should be challenged on a constitutional basis. On these evil conditions alone, if Americans do not end them, this is reason enough for all Americans to lose everything. You are selfish blind hypocritical people. And companies who use prison slave labor, I am boycotting them.

  • MyLifeMyChoice

    The worst part of it all is that private prisons are run on government contracts…our tax dollars. We as a nation are paying to support the increasing imprisonment of our population. Yes criminals should be in prison, but let’s look at the systemic failure of a country that pays more for prisons than education. Citizens without self respect and no self evident viable choices to lead them out of unsavory positions in life. How we stop this momemtum is the question at so many socio-economic levels of our society. History will not treat kindly those who support this system.

  • marvin nubwaxer

    this is not the america i grew up in. in my america we wiped out polio when i was a young child. the new america, where the biggest growth is the number living in poverty, is a disgrace.