Corrections Corporation of America

AZ review shows private prisons cost more. So legislature ends the study.

This is typical of GOP deception.  If it doesn’t fit the narrative, quash it, deny it or ignore it.

Daily Kos

If you’re a state hellbent on turning corrections over to the for-profit prison industry, what do you do when an annual survey shows that private jails are often more expensive than the old fashioned public variety? Especially if, by law, the state may contract for private prisons only if they prove to be less expensive? Simple, just eliminate that pesky study.

Buried in the $8.6 billion budget proposal passed at the state Capitol this week is a plan to “eliminate the requirement for a quality and cost review of private prison contracts.” It means there would no longer be an annual review of how private prisons operate.CBS5.com

The corrections industry in Arizona is enjoying a good ride. They’ve been held harmless in the last two state budgets, while education, healthcare, and every other public service has been cut off at the knees. Along with its budget, the corrections cartel’s political power has increased. Tucson Citizen’s Cell-Out AZ has lotsa dirt, like raiding mortgage settlement funds for prisons. The industry’s biggest legislative win, of course, was SB 1070, which the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) helped craft and pass, alongside ALEC. It’s not like the incarceration industry has a financial interest or anything, since SB 1070, if implemented as written, would provide them a heckuva lot more customers.

One might ask why the legislature ended an annual review of private prisons, less than two years after three inmates escaped from the Kingman facility run by Management & Training Corporation (MTC). A nationwide manhunt ended in their capture, but not before the men, two of whom were convicted killers, hijacked an Oklahoma couple’s car and trailer in New Mexico, shot them at a rest stop and burned their bodies in the trailer. Immediately after this tragedy, there were loud calls to clean up the crappy security at Kingman — and all prisons statewide. This Arizona Republic story, titled “Arizona Prison Oversight Lacking for Private Facilities,” was typical:

[The three convicts] took advantage of lax security and faulty alarms to escape on July 30, 2010, from the Kingman prison, run by Management and Training Corp. of Centerville, Utah. The men cut their way out using tools McCluskey’s cousin and fiancee, Casslyn Welch, had tossed over the fence. Arizona Republic

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Private Prison Charges Inmates $5 A Minute For Phone Calls While They Work For $1 A Day

I understand that corporations exist to make profits, but at least pay your “employees” enough to pay for things that you charge them.

Five days of work gives them enough for a one minute phone call.  That’s absurd.  Essentially, the inmates are slaves, based upon that calculation.

Think Progress

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.

Watch this report on the conditions Stewart detainees face:

CCA’s abuse doesn’t stop at outrageously priced phone services. One woman reported that her diabetic husband does not receive enough food, so she has to deposit money for him to buy more. Occupy Nashville recently protested outside of the company by holding a “human auction” to illustrate how CCA profits off of human suffering.

As Alternet points out, in the past few years, CCA has spent $14.8 million “lobbying for anti-immigration laws to ensure they have continuous access to fresh inmates and keep their money racket going.” Recent anti-immigration laws in Alabama and Georgia keep their facilities full and CCA profits high.

Since more prisoners translate into more profit, private prisons like CCA continually push lawmakers to enact harsher policies and longer sentences, according to a report by Justice Policy Institute (JPI).

Private Prisons Spend Millions On Lobbying To Put More People In Jail

One can say that today, all the posts on TFC  have something in common: reporting on corporate malfeasance aided by political and judicial collusion.

Think Progress

Yesterday, the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) released a report chronicling the political strategies of private prison companies “working to make money through harsh policies and longer sentences.” The report’s authors note that while the total number of people in prison increased less than 16 percent, the number of people held in private federal and state facilities increased by 120 and 33 percent, correspondingly. Government spending on corrections has soared since 1997 by 72 percent, up to $74 billion in 2007. And the private prison industry has raked in tremendous profits. Last year the two largest private prison companies — Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group — made over $2.9 billion in revenue.

JPI claims the private industry hasn’t merely responded to the nation’s incarceration woes, it has actively sought to create the market conditions (ie. more prisoners) necessary to expand its business.

According to JPI, the private prison industry uses three strategies to influence public policy: lobbying, direct campaign contributions, and networking. The three main companies have contributed $835,514 to federal candidates and over $6 million to state politicians. They have also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on direct lobbying efforts. CCA has spent over $900,000 on federal lobbying and GEO spent anywhere from $120,000 to $199,992 in Florida alone during a short three-month span this year. Meanwhile, “the relationship between government officials and private prison companies has been part of the fabric of the industry from the start,” notes the report. The cofounder of CCA himself used to be the chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party.

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