Saturday, March 3, 2012

Corrections Corp. of America offers to buy and privatize state prisons

Last week's revelation that Corrections Corp. of America is offering to buy and privatize the prisons of fiscally struggling states fills me with foreboding. In order for private prison corporations to be profitable, they must remain full (CCA reportedly told shareholders in 2010 that profits could be adversely affected by sentencing leniency...). Privatization not only provides state governments with an incentive to keep the prisons full; it also reduces accountability, putting the fates of the incarcerated behind an information firewall even more resistant to monitoring or oversight than the state apparatus, if that is possible. And despite claims that privatization will reduce costs, in many states it has been shown to increase the cost of incarceration.

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