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Prison Industry

I'm sure not too many people noticed but a brief news report from a newspaper in Chattanooga, Tennessee called attention once again to the perils of the privatization of prisons.  This story involves the settling of a lawsuit filed against Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the leading private prison company in the world. (Here's the story, which has a link to the actual lawsuit that you can download). Although the case centered around one prison in Hamilton County, it was a national class-action suit against CCA involving 282 corrections officers in 14 states working in 29 CCA prisons.  Among the issues involved included the fact that CCA did not pay workers when they clocked in before their shift started, even though they were required to do so.  Terms of the settlement were not revealed.

This is consistent with private prison companies, as they adhere to the corporate "bottom line" of making profits above all else.

CCA currently has about a 53% share of the market in the private prison industry, with 63 facilities in 21 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

There's money to be made in private prisons companies like CCA.  A story in the Nashville Business Journal back in 2002 noted the following: "On Aug. 1, President and CEO John Ferguson exercised an option to buy 10,000 shares at $8.75, then sold them for $54.52, netting a profit of $457,700. Meanwhile, Vice President and Treasurer Todd Mullenger on Tuesday sold 18,057 shares at a price of $60.55, netting him $1.1 million." (See this web site).

Investors are often encouraged to put their money on private prisons.  One quote says it all: "We remain bullish on private prisons."

There have been scandals galore within this industry.  An example is the case of two judges in Pennsylvania pleading guilty of taking about $2.6 million in payments from the operators of a private juvenile detention center in return for sending offenders to the facility, mostly on minor charges.

Crime itself may not pay, but punishment certainly does!

More details about the prison industry can be found on my web site.  Go to:

Keywords: prisons, privatization, Randall Shelden

Posted in Blog, Political Landscape

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