Private Prisons : Profiting Over Mass Incarceration

1854 Words8 Pages
Jennifer Wongsosaputro
UGBA 107
March 22nd
Professor Alan Ross
Private prisons: Profiting over Mass Incarceration
Crime rates are down in America, yet there is an unproportionately large number of Americans incarcerated. This paper will delve into and examine this problem and how it is closely linked to private prisons and the issues surrounding them. While private prisons claim to be cost effective and well-run, evidence has shown that these profit-driven companies ignore ethical consequences by purposefully lengthening prisoners’ sentences, target certain groups for incarceration and maintain despicable living standards for the prisoners; ultimately, these prisons have caused more harm than good for the state.

The Rise in Private
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Claiming that they would be a cost effective alternative, companies started managing and running entire prisons instead of the state. As a result, the population in private prisons increased by an astounding 1600%.
In any given year now, incarceration rates has tripled with approximately 13 million people introduced to American jails in any given year. This increase in the prison population far outpaced the crime rate and the US population growth. Today, America has around 5% of the world’s population but a quarter of the world’s prison population.
Today, the private prison industry is big and extremely profitable. The industry is dominated by two large companies, Corrections Corporations of America (CCA) and the GEO group. The annual combined revenues for both companies amount to over $3 billion while their top executives get compensation of over $3 million each. However, the way these companies operate is wholly unethical.
Bed quotas: Harmful prison occupancy requirements
In many of the contracts between private prisons and the state, prisons actually get a guarantee that their prisons will be filled up which mean more money to the company. In the Public Interest, an organization dedicated to high quality accurate research for the public, analyzed 62 contracts from private facilities and found that 41 of the contracts contained quotas. These quotas were occupancy requirements that the
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