Donald Cohen, the executive director of In the Public Interest, has written a piece for the Huffington Post on the impact of outsourcing prisons to for-profit corporations like Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group.
The results are not pretty. Cohen's article, Captive Customers: Outsourcing Prison Services Is Ruining Lives and Bilking Taxpayers, details deplorable conditions for prison staff and inmates in the private prison industry.
Introducing for-profit companies into America's criminal justice system has been a bad deal for governments across the country. During the past several years, a movement opposed to profit incentives in our criminal justice system has grown. Private prison corporations such as Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group have come under increasing scrutiny and pressure for cutting corners, contracts that include "occupancy guarantees" of 80, 90 and even 100 percent and unsafe prison conditions.
For example, earlier this month, the Palm Beach Post broke the story of the deplorable treatment of prisoners by health care contractors in Florida prisons as contractors seek to maximize profits by cutting costs. The result, according to the Post, has been a ten-year high in inmate deaths.
But it's not just the prisons that are handed over to CCA or GEO group. Almost every service delivered inside the prison is being outsourced to for-profit corporations. Outsourced inmate health care, food and commissary services, telephone and financial services like money transfers between families and inmates are all adding to the poor conditions in prisons and burdening inmates and their families with extra costs. Read More