People who are incarcerated are not always sent to facilities controlled by the government. Sometimes, they’re sent to prisons run by corporations. These corporations make money from the prisons that they run by contracting with states to incarcerate citizens, often promising politicians that they will save money, provide jobs, and otherwise provide benefits to the communities in which the prisons are located.
Unfortunately, these prisons, collectively known as private prisons, have deep financial incentives to encourage policing policies and legislation that send more and more people to their prisons–and to keep people incarcerated for as long as possible. These prisons also seek to save money in every possible way, from cutting corners on the meals they feed to prisoners to slashing the budgets for prison education programs and prison libraries. This system has resulted in ballooning levels of incarceration, shameful conditions inside of private prisons, and unimaginable profits being diverted from public uses to private uses.
DID YOU KNOW:
The number of federal prisoners incarcerated in private prisons increased 784% between 1990 and 2010.
Private prisons are BIG businesses. One private prison corporation, GEO Group, boasted $1.69 billion in revenue in 2014 alone.
In 2013, the two largest private prison corporations (CCA and GEO Group) received $100 million in tax breaks. This represents $100 million of lost taxpayer money. This money could have been used to fund public schools, fire departments, and libraries–but instead went into the pockets of corporations.
Private prison corporations control prisoners at the state and federal levels as well as operating many immigrant detention centers. 9 out of the 10 largest immigrant detention centers are now operated by private prison corporations.
For too long, we have been allowing corporations to exploit incarceration for profit. During the week of April 17-23, join other activists across the country as we educate our communities about the roots and effects of private prisons and mass incarceration. Join the National Week of Action Facebook group to keep up-to-date about the actions being planned, learn more about private prisons at ENLACE’s website, and sign the petition to end tax breaks for private prisons.
Start the conversation on social media now: #RevokeREIT #PrisonDivest #ReinvestInHumanity