Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money from Mass Incarceration
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The astonishing range of industries, corporations, and individuals profiting from the imprisonment of over 2.3 million Americans.
"Positive: With the baby boomlet demographics, we foresee increasing demand for juvenile [incarceration] services. Negative:...it is often difficult to maintain the occupancy rates required for profitability."—from a report produced for the private prison industry by investment analysts First Analysis Securities Corporation
Locking up 2.3 million people isn't cheap. Each year federal, state, and local governments spend over $185 billion annually in tax dollars to ensure that one out of every 137 Americans is imprisoned. Prison Profiteers looks at the private prison companies, investment banks, churches, guard unions, medical corporations, and other industries and individuals that benefit from this country's experiment with mass imprisonment. It lets us follow the money from public to private hands and exposes how monies formerly designated for the public good are diverted to prisons and their maintenance. Find out where your tax dollars are going as you help to bankroll the biggest prison machine the world has ever seen.
Contributors include: Judy Greene on private prison giants Geo (formerly Wackenhut) and CCA; Anne-Marie Cusac on who sells electronic weapons to prison guards; David Lapido on how private corporations profit from prison labor; Wil S. Hylton on the largest prison health care provider; Ian Urbina on how prison labor supports the military; Kirsten Levingston on the privatization of public defense; Jennifer Gonnerman on the costs to neighborhoods from which prisoners are removed; Kevin Pranis on the banks and brokerage houses that finance prison building; and Silja Talvi on the American Correctional Association as a tax-funded lobbyist for professional prison bureaucracies.
to a particular offense is readily available.” Am. Bar. Ass’n, Standards for Criminal Justice Section Standards, Collateral Sanctions and Discretionary Disqualification of Convicted Persons, Standards �§ 19-2.1, 19-1.2(a)(iii) (2006), available at http://abanet.org/crimjust/standards/collateral_blk.html. 49 N.Y. State Bar Ass’n, Re-entry and Reintegration: The Road to Public Safety, Report and Recommendations of the Special Committee on Collateral Consequences of Criminal Proceedings 163 (2006).
than the guys who make them.” The Nevada Department of Corrections has jumped on the gangsta clothes bandwagon and markets its own line of clothes under the label Most Wanted. Their other marketing attempt is making motorcycles, Big House Choppers (which have yet to register any sales). Chain Gang Apparel, Inc., is a Huntsville, Alabama, company that makes and sells striped prison uniforms identical to those worn by prisoners on the state’s chain gangs. Perhaps with no irony, these fashions are
failed effort before it ever opened its doors, and the stories that emerged were entirely predictable, particularly in the stark light of the havoc unfolding just down the road at Tallulah. Substantiated reports of abuses at Jena included physical abuse by guards and excessive use of restraints due to poor training and supervision of staff, routine deprivation of adequate food and clothing, use of racial epithets by guards against African American youth, and overuse of isolation. One particularly
“Every time [children’s attorney] David Utter opens his mouth, our stock drops a million.” Sick on the Inside: Correctional HMOs and the Coming Prison Plague Wil S. Hylton August 2003 When David Hannah walked into a small office on the second floor of the Moberly Correctional Facility in Moberly, Missouri, last fall, carrying his belly like a hundred-pound sack of sand, the staff knew him well enough not to worry about what he might break or steal or soil in their private offices, which were
Justice is not the only governmental authority inquiring into tasers. On January 7, 2005, Taser International issued a press release that said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating what Taser International described as “company statements regarding the safety” of the company’s products. Arizona’s Attorney General, Terry Goddard, is also investigating their safety. Taser International did not respond to repeated requests for an interview, or answer written questions posed