Profiting Off Prisoners
The prison system seems full of mystery. Not many people understand the workings behind the scenes, such as the difference between private and public prisons, and the people that profit from them. www.topcriminaljusticedegrees.com has created an infographic entitled â€śProfiting Off Prisonersâ€ť that details the financial and static numbers behind the private prison system.
The United States began toying with the idea of private prisons back in 1984. From 1990 to 2009, the inmate population housed in private prisons increased more than 1,600%. The two largest private prison companies, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), and the GEO Group, Inc., have generated over 3.4 billion dollars. This is more than the GDP of Greenland and the Virgin Islands combined. The CEO of the GEO Group, Inc., Damon T. Hininger, netted 3.7 million in 2011 as his executive compensation, and CCA CEO George C. Zaloey made 5.7 million in 2011.
The CCA has 66 facilities with 90,000 beds, and the GEO group has 56 facilities with 61,000 beds. Both companies have faced legal battles as well. The GEO Group, Inc. has been fined over 7.6 million dollars for wrongful death suits and fines involving staffing problems. Private run facilities also report a higher instance of violence-but it doesnâ€™t stop there. Private run facilities also face criticism over racial concerns. Private facilities boast a higher number of minority inmates than state-run facilities. Private run facilities have also seen a 25% increase in the number of immigration detainees since 2003, and a 457% increase since 1994.
Private prisons claim they can boost local economies and state budgets, however, many of these dreams turn to nightmares. Once such case, in Hardin, Montana, cost their town millions. $27 million in bonds was issued for the construction of the prison, with a promise of 67 jobs. When the prison project was completed, and then unfulfilled contracts left it abandoned, the town was left to spend $8,000 to fix leaky pipes in a new building, and fork out $10,000 every month for the gas bill at a facility that remained empty.
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