The very phrase “for-profit prison” should raise a red flag for anyone on the lookout for counterintuitivity. Once governments were the builders, owners, and administrators of prisons, but budgets for government services and capital investments have not kept up with the astounding growth in prison populations. In short, it’s just too expensive for states to build and run their own prisons.
But in the meantime, prison populations have increased seven-fold since the 1970s. Yes, that means for every one inmate in US prisons in 1975, there are now seven US prisoners. That’s a real growth business! And, as such, it has attracted plenty of big investors who offer to build and administer new facilities to states, promising big cost savings and new jobs to towns that sorely need them.
All that money and profit tied so closely to the number of inmates the state can provide to the owners of the prison creates far too many conflicts of interest to count. Dig into this topic for a couple of hours and you should be able to find counterintuitivity with your eyes closed.
Follow this link to a story from this week, and the links to other resources from this story, to get started. Let me know what you find in the Reply field below.