Alberto building prisons for profit. The US government decided


Margaret Annen

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Comp I

2 December

Prisoners for Profit

            Today there is over two million
people that are in a prison system in America. The U.S. government spends
fifty-five billion dollars a year, keeping criminals out of our society. Over
the past twenty years, a disturbing movement has been emerging in The United States of America. Self-governing
corporations have been building prisons for profit. The US government decided
to do this when the war on drugs started overcrowding prisons and the
government had no other alternative than to contract out. This, in turn, created many problems that did
not have the best interest of the prisoner in mind. The prisons are being run
like a business and just like any business, they want repeat customers. The
privatization of the prison system in America is using human beings for profit
much like slavery did in the past. The goal of these parasitic companies is to make
as much money as possible off of the American taxpayer, while buying off politicians
that turn a blind eye to the well being of prisoners.  We need to abolish these greedy corporate-run
prisons that encourage our elected officials to accept millions in campaign
contributions, all while carefully preserving horrid prison environments.

            For example, private prison corporations that have been
awarded a contract by the state, have created what is known as lockup quotas as
part of their contract. These quotas ensure that these greedy companies still
get paid for empty beds. Any unused beds are charged at the expense of the
taxpayer. Much like an apartment complex whereas the owner still has to pay
property tax on vacant apartments. Therefore, the state wants to keep prisoners
to meet the private prisons quota. These quotas can range from 90% to 100%
occupancy. What the prisons and government leaders have done to avoid having
empty beds is simply keep the prisoners from getting rehabilitated. The private
prison contracts that our leaders are accepting, on behalf of the American
citizen, are shameless.  According to,

The report notes that
contract clauses like this incentivize criminilization, and do nothing to
promote rehabilitation, crime reduction or community building. These contracts
run counter to many states’ public policy goals of reducing the prison
population and increasing efforts for inmate rehabilitation.

When imprisonment is
encouraged and incentivized, an offender who is truly trying to better
themselves, will not stand a chance in these types of prisons.  The greed of the private prison system is a
parasite in our democracy and it needs to be handled accordingly. We cannot
continue letting this parasitic disease feast on Americans hard earn money.

            In addition, prisoners are being methodically oppressed
by the private prison system and our leaders, in order to maintain a large
prisoner population for profit to be funneled to political campaigns. The more
time they stay, the more money the prison makes. The more they come back, the
more money in their pockets from the state. When election time comes, these
corporations make huge amounts of political donations to candidates that will
be tougher on crime legislation. All that one would need to do is follow the
money. As you can see, there is many conflicts of interest when it comes to the
privatization of the American prison system. I believe every American deserves
a fair shake, even if it is in prison. This should not be happening in a day
and age where equality is number one. When will our politicians stop taking
money from lobbyist that are hired by these private prisons. These companies
have funneled money into political contributions for decades ensuring they
write the laws in their favor. These  laws are geared towards making sure that these
prisons stay at full capacity. The work the corporate lobbyist has nothing to do
with public safety. Corporate fat cats have been using our government and
taxpayers to line up their pockets for way too long. Based on a report by the
Justice Policy Insitute in the Washington Post,

The two largest for-profit prison companies in the United States – GEO
and Corrections Corporation of America – and their associates have funneled
more than $10 million to candidates since 1989 and have spent nearly $25
million on lobbying efforts. Meanwhile, these private companies have seen their
revenue and market share soar. They now rake in a combined $3.3 billion in
annual revenue and the private federal prison population more than doubled
between 2000 and 2010, according to a report by the Justice Policy Institute.

 It is an injustice to have human beings used
for profit. This is a vicious cycle that will only get worse as time
progresses. We need to end the capitalism on the private prison system. Private
prisons like The GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America, have no
place in a democratic civilization.         

Furthermore, It is understood that these are prisoners and are going to
jail for not following our laws. The fact of the matter is that the history of
prison is not pleasant and while they might be prisoners, they are still human.
The private prisons have horrendous living c They deserve to be rehabilitated
so when they go back out to society, they will avoid having to commit another
crime. We live in a nation of laws and when they have been properly processed
through our court system, they should also be properly cared for while under
imprisonment. According to,

When it comes to the safety and security of prisons, it was thought that
privatizing prisons would make them more secure. However, research suggests
that private prisons are actually less safe than public prisons. It’s estimated
that private prisons have 49% more incidences of violence and assaults on
guards than public prisons. Inmate on inmate assaults occur 65% more often at
private prisons as well. It is believed that the reason private prisons experience
more violence is because they do not require as much security based on the type
of offenders placed into private prisons.

When a particular group
of humans has the system working against them, it is a recipe for disaster for
all that live in the same society. Our government leaders should be trying to
empower these individuals, not systematically keep them confined. These
offenders are individuals that are going into a prison system with minor
non-violent crimes such as: unpaid tickets, shoplifting, and fraud. Once they
are imprisoned, a higher percentage of them stay longer for an offense other
than the original crime. This proves once again, these corporations are using prisoners
for profit by deliberately keeping living conditions inadequate. Do not get me
wrong, prison should not be comfortable, but it should also not be a place
where it is encouraged to be kept in a cage for as long as possible. Although
they are prisoners, they are also Americans with rights. Prisoner rights are
being violated everyday in the private prison system and we must terminate this
foolish movement at once.

            Lastly, we must eliminate the parasitic private prison system
that has been feeding off of the American taxpayer for too long. The political
contributions from these corporations are in the millions of dollars and one
has to wonder why so much money is being donated. These detention centers are
being used as a prisoner for profit system and this is not what America
represents. We should have leaders that will not be bought by corporations. Our
leaders should stand up to them and do what is morally correct. But, as the old
saying goes, “money talks”. These corporations want frequent clients so money
can be made to keep the cycle going. It is a major travesty that this is happening
in our society and when it affects one, it affects the whole community. There
is no place for private prison systems in the United States of America.




Works Cited

“6 shocking
revelations about how private prisons make money.” Salon, 23 Sept.
2013,                 money_partner/.

Michael. “How for-Profit prisons have become the biggest lobby no one is
talking            about.” The
Washington Post, WP Company, 28 Apr. 2015,        become-the-biggest-lobby-no-one-is-talking-about/?utm_term=.f142ffc3e7de.

Leanna. “Private vs. Public Prisons: Differences & Statistics.”,,