Yet the reality is that private prison lobbyists regularly buy influence with state and federal officials, not only to win lucrative contracts, but also to change or preserve policies that increase the number of people behind bars. Private companies have made huge profits off the mass incarceration of non-violent drug offenders, and are now turning their attention to increasing the detention of Latino immigrants—the newest profit center for the prison industrial complex. Ultimately there is no way to reverse the costly trend toward mass incarceration without reducing the influence of these companies and their money in our democracy.Here’s another example David Donnelly wrote for Huffpo 17 Nov 2011, Private Prisons Industry: Increasing Incarcerations, Maximizing Profits and Corrupting Our Democracy,
Earlier this year in Louisiana, a plan by Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) to privatize prisons narrowly failed in a legislative committee by a vote of 13 to 12. The 12 members of the House Appropriations Committee who voted to approve the prison privatization plan have received more than three times more money from private prison donors than the 13 members who voted against the plan, according to an analysis of data from the Louisiana Ethics Administration and the National Institute on Money in State Politics. Gov. Jindal himself has taken nearly $30,000 from the private prison industry.And of course in Georgia there’s HB 87, which isn’t really about excluding immigrants; it’s about more misdemeanors and felonies to lock up more people. And guess who runs the federal immigration facility in Georgia? Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the same company that wants to build a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia.
The report ties it all together:
Building on analysis of the most recent data on private prison lobbying and campaign contributions, as well as previous research and news accounts, this paper connects the dots between rising incarceration rates, increased detention of immigrants, growing private prison revenue, increased spending on political campaigns and lobbying, and privileged access to policymakers.One of those dots is right here at home. We don’t need a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia. Spend those tax dollars on rehabilitation and education instead. Follow this link to petition the Industrial Authority.
PS: Owed to Michael Noll.