What happens when a business mentality rules the prison system: A market for inmates, where’s the justice in that?
Privatization encourages prisons to operate like businesses. The more inmates/people they accumulate, the more the prison earns in profits. From the standpoint of social justice, this setup seems like an inherently bad idea.
The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is the largest operator of for-profit prisons in the US. Just a few years ago, Ohio sold off one of its largest prisons–the Lake Erie Correctional Facility–to the CCA for $72.7 million. In fact, CCA’s CEO, Damon Hininger, once admitted that “Ohio has been a targeted state for CCA for several years.”
The “War on Drugs” mentality combined with the practically xenophobic response to “illegal aliens” continues to generate more and more people for privatized-prisons to cultivate. The US population of inmates currently exceeds 2.4 million people. This means that more than 1 out of every 100 Americans is currently in jail. So this means that the United States of America–a mere 5% of the global population–accounts for almost 25% of the world’s inmates.
The CCA is a booming business with a massive budget ($250 million in 2012) in effect to buy-out state prisons around the country. Could these statistics reveal an underlying intent of the for-profit prison industry to commodify jail sentences and exploit the imprisonment of American citizens?