Remember my rant about for-profit prisons? No?
I said in print and in class that “The very phrase ‘for-profit prison’ should raise a red flag for anyone on the lookout for counterintuitivity. 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.”
Now here’s another doozy of a link to a story from today about the rules Pennsylvania has had to enact to prevent judges from doing what Mark Ciavarella did–collecting more that a million dollars of kickbacks from for-profit prisons in return for sending them juvenile offenders (customers) he convicted routinely and with very little justification. The media have called it the “kids for cash” scandal.