Prison overcrowding: A boon for the for-profit industry

A Huffington Post report Friday highlights how the private prison industry relies on and benefits from mass incarceration and attendant prison overcrowding in this country.Eerily, the article notes, the president of for-profit prison leviathan Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), David Myers, eerily foretold, "If we build it, they will come."And indeed a spate of recent federal and state deals have enabled the continuing growth of the Prison Industrial Complex. Overcrowding in federal and state prisons is not prompting the sort of reform desperately needed to bring down the U.S. prison population (we boast the highest incarceration rates in the entire world). Rather, the situation is proving a boon for private prisons. "Instead of facing the sort of politically tougher questions of how to revise the sentencing structure, the state uses the private prisons as the release valve," Donald Specter, who heads the Prison Law Office, a Berkeley-based public interest firm, told HuffPo.In attempts to close budget shortfalls and relieve overcrowded public prisons, the for-profit players are brought in, and incarceration rates continue to rise. Myer’s comment was all to prescient. Continue Reading…

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