Private prisons do not increase local employment

According to an empirical study, siting a private prison in a rural county does not increase employment. (Big Prisons, Small Towns: Prison Economics in Rural America by Ryan S. King, Marc Mauer and Tracy Huling, February 2003.)

Their Key Findings:

Overall, over the course of 25 years, we find no significant difference or discernible pattern of economic trends between the seven rural counties in New York that hosted a prison and the seven rural counties that did not host a prison. While prisons clearly create new jobs, these benefits do not aid the host county to any substantial degree since local residents are not necessarily in a position to be hired for these jobs. The most significant findings are as follows:
They go on to detail effects on unemployment during economic recovery, downturn, and boom, and in each period unemployment was slightly worse in counties that hosted a prison. They looked at per capita income and concluded that:
Counties that hosted new prisons received no economic advantage as measured by per capita income.

Remember, the justification for a private prison in Lowndes County is supposed to be “jobs, jobs, jobs”. According to this study, it won’t even increase jobs. And the study didn’t even look into dirt-cheap prison labor competing with local labor.