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prison - industrial complex

Private Prisons for Dummies: The Wild Ride of the Corrections Corporation of America...

...and resources on the Criminal Justice-Industrial Complex

The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is the industry leader in private prisons. It was the brainchild of a West Point cadet and Harvard Business School grad who received backing from the same investment firm that gave us Kentucky Fried Chicken. During the 1980s, with crime on the rise and 'get tough' well into its second decade, a prison franchise sounded like a good idea in what the business world calls a 'rapidly expanding sector'. 

However, even with a full fledged imprisonment binge, CCA has had cash flow problems and considered issuing junk bonds. Their effort to spin off a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) to avoid paying some federal taxes took several bad turns, ending in a series of losses, including class action lawsuits by shareholders and more than $30 million in 'strategic investor fees' and other costs for corporate restructuring. It's no wonder private prisons don't save money, even though 73% of the private prisons in a recent study received a 'development incentive' totaling $628 million in tax free bonds, low cost construction financing, property tax abatements - which means less money for local schools - and infrastructure subsidies (water, sewer, utility hookups or access roads). See Ch 3 <pdf> of Jail Breaks: Economic Development Subsidies Given to Private Prisons

Their stock had been trading for $45 in '98, but bottomed out at $0.18 a share, leading an analyst to comment "the company has taken a dive that would make a dot-com blush" However, the same report indicates that "we expect the industry to have more growth opportunities in difficult economic times."

College campuses boycotted Sodexho-Marriott because its "close ties to the scandal-ridden Corrections Corporation of America make it an unfit provider of campus dining services". Yes, that's the Marriott as in hotels and food service because private prisons work on an occupancy rate basis (higher vacancies, less profit) and they have thousands of people who require regular feeding. The campus movement pressured Sodexho-Mariott to divest itself of CCA, but they have retained an operating interest in British & Australian private prisons.  [MORE]

Private Prison Resources from Paul's Justice Page: 

Resources: Websites about private prisons 

The CCA-PZN Story: The Real Estate investment Trust spin-off, the near bankruptcy, junk bonds, and the restructuring bid from Pacific Life Insurance. Stay tuned, the ride is not over yet...

Why Private Prisons Don't Save Money: CEO pay, shareholder lawsuits, corporate debt refinancing and more. 

Conflict of Interest: Charles Thomas - on the Board of Trustees for Prison Realty, founder of the Private Prison Institute at the University of Florida, holder of a government post involving the regulation of private prisons and author of research claiming a lower recidivism rate for private prisons. 

Fear, Race & the Criminal Justice Industrial Complex

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Mopping the Floor While the Tub Overflows: Paul's article on the problem of cutting crime prevention $ to fund prison expansion

Companion website for The Rich Get Richer & the Poor Get Prison

The Commercialization of Justice. This article, written by Marlyce Nuzum (and originally appearing in the Critical Criminologist) describes the military-industrial complex and the emergence of a criminal justice- industrial complex. She surveys the range of actors and tries to make a minimum estimate of its size. 

"The Northeast Ohio Correctional Center has experienced pivotal failures in its security and operational management as a result of seriously flawed decisions by leaders of both CCA and DOC. Expediency and the pressure of short-term objectives often prevailed over good judgement and sound correctional management procedures. Identification and resolution of problems were too often delayed by the failure to perform self-assessment and management oversight. It is reasonable to conclude that certain of the most serious problems which endangered the safety of the public, the staff or the inmates were preventable or subject to mitigation. These as well as other findings are listed below and expounded upon in their respective chapters."

Report of Dept of Justice about problems with the Corrections Corporation of America's facility in Youngstown Ohio

The Wisconsin Legislature's report wasn't much better - finding problems with gangs, drugs, sanitation, food service, medical issues, inmate mistreatment, prisoner/staff fraternization, etc & etc. 

This page is created to counteract the public relations money spent not just by private prisons but the larger criminal justice-industrial complex. The US has more inmates per capita than any other nation and we do not need prisons here so badly that we should put up with companies like CCA and Prison Realty Trust. Let's pull the plug on the perpetual prisoner machine, say no more prison construction and ...


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