America celling industry inside look prison us

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Mass Incarceration in the US

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The celling of America : an inside look at the U.S. prison industry

The University of Melbourne. University of South Australia. The modern private prison business first emerged and established itself publicly in when the Corrections Corporation of America CCA , now known as CoreCivic , was awarded a contract to take over a facility in Shelby County , Tennessee. This marked the first time that any government in the country had contracted out the complete operation of a jail to a private operator. The bid was ultimately defeated due to strong opposition from public employees and the skepticism of the state legislature.

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Statistics from the U. Department of Justice show that, as of , there were , state and federal prisoners housed in privately owned prisons in the U. Broken down to prison type, While represented a slight decline in private prison population over , the overall trend over the preceding decade had been a slow increase. In the past two decades CCA has seen its profits increase by more than percent. According to journalist Matt Taibbi , Wall Street banks took notice of this influx of cash, and are now some of the prison industry's biggest investors.

Campbell and activist and journalist Chris Hedges respectively assert that prisons in the United States have become a "lucrative" and "hugely profitable" business. Less than a year later, students formed a group called Columbia Prison Divest, and delivered a letter to the president of the University demanding total divestment from CCA and full disclosure of future investments. CoreCivic previously CCA has a capacity of more than 80, beds in 65 correctional facilities.

The Celling of America: An Inside Look at the U.S. Prison Industry

The GEO Group operates 57 facilities with a capacity of 49, offender beds. Most privately run facilities are located in the southern and western portions of the United States and include both state and federal offenders. Private prison firms, reacting to reductions in prison populations, are increasingly looking away from mere incarceration and are seeking to maintain profitability by expanding into new markets previously served by non-profit behavioral health and treatment-oriented agencies, including prison medical care, forensic mental hospitals, civil commitment centers, halfway houses and home arrest.


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A report by the U. Department of Justice asserts that privately operated federal facilities are less safe, less secure and more punitive than other federal prisons. According to Sessions, "the Obama administration memorandum changed long-standing policy and practice, and impaired the bureau's ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system. Therefore, I direct the bureau to return to its previous approach. One escaping murderer, Daniel Renwick, immediately absconded with the intended getaway vehicle, abandoning his companions outside the prison. He was involved in a shootout in Rifle , Colorado , about 30 hours after the prison break, and was captured by a Garfield County deputy and Rifle police.

In the course of evading pursuers, the remaining two escapees and their accomplice, Casslyn Welch, kidnapped and hijacked vacationing Oklahomans Gary and Linda Haas in New Mexico. The couple was soon murdered by the ringleader, John McCluskey. Tracy Province, a lifer, was apprehended in Wyoming on August 9.

The final pair were arrested on August 19, 20 days after the jailbreak, upon their return to Arizona.

The Celling of America: An Inside Look at the US Prison Industry | eBay

All three were first convicted of the escapes, initial hijacking, kidnappings and robberies in Kingman , Arizona. Then they were charged with the same crimes plus murder in New Mexico. John McCluskey, the ringleader, and his accomplice, Casslyn Welch, were also alleged to have committed an armed robbery in Arkansas. McCluskey was tried on death penalty charges but after five months of court proceedings, his jury gave him life imprisonment on December 11, Estimates of the costs of the nationwide searches as well as the apprehensions, prosecutions and subsequent imprisonment in the three states greatly exceed a million dollars.

Estancia has a population of about 1, residents, while Torrance County has a population of more than 15, The Torrance County Detention facility houses about prisoners, most of them federal inmates.

The head of the Torrance County Detention center, Garland was told the prison needs closer beds filled to stay open. For several years they have not been able to maintain this quota and are being forced to shut down. The company told the county it has been holding fewer federal detainees for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Garland said. From to the prison population stayed consistent with the general population.

The private prison population began to increase at an disproportional rate in the year that private prisons began operation in the United States.

From to the prison population had a gradual increase from , to , However, From to the Prison population has increased from , to 1,, When Reagan's War on Drugs lead to a massive rise in numbers in prisons, private prison operators were quick to seize the opportunity. According to statistics from "The Problem with Private PrisonsJustice Policy Institute", [80] from to there was a percent increase in the American private prison population.

However, the vast majority of prisoners, over 90 per cent, remain in publicly-run prisons. To properly compare the benefits of private v. However, academic or state-funded studies have found that private prisons tend to keep more low-cost inmates and send high-cost back to state-run prisons. This is counterproductive to the cost benefit analysis of the Private Prisons and contradicts the original selling point of the CCA and other private prisons; "to mitigate the cost of running prisons".


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Proponents of privately run prisons contend that cost-savings and efficiency of operation place private prisons at an advantage over public prisons and support the argument for privatization, but some research casts doubt on the validity of these arguments, as evidence has shown that private prisons are neither demonstrably more cost-effective, nor more efficient than public prisons. A study by the U. Bureau of Justice Statistics found that the cost-savings promised by private prisons "have simply not materialized".

A study concluded that a pattern of sending less expensive inmates to privately run facilities artificially inflated cost savings. A study by a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley shows that minorities make up a greater percentage of inmates at private prisons than in their public counterparts, largely because minorities are cheaper to incarcerate. According to the study, for-profit prison operators, in particular CCA and GEO Group, accumulate these low-cost inmates "through explicit and implicit exemptions written into contracts between these private prison management companies and state departments of correction".

Recidivism rates, how many prisoners are re-arrested after release, are not usually considered to measure performance. A study in found that out of half of the federal prisoners released that year, Together, all 40 of these facilities in the state had an average of Evidence suggests that lower staffing levels and training at private facilities may lead to increases in the incidence of violence and escapes. A nationwide study found that assaults on guards by inmates were 49 percent more frequent in private prisons than in government-run prisons.

The same study revealed that assaults on fellow inmates were 65 percent more frequent in private prisons. According to the journalists, the ratio of staff to prisoners in this prison was only 1 to In a bloody riot in this prison, six inmates were rushed to the hospital, including one with permanent brain damage. During the riot, the staff of the prison did not respond but waited until the melee ended, because prisoners outnumbered staff by a ratio of The lack of well-trained staff does not only lead to violence but also corruption.

According to a former WGCF prisoner, the corrections officers were also responsible for smuggling operations within the prison. To make more money, some provided prisoners with contraband, including drugs, cellphones and weapons. At the Walnut Grove C. After exposure of the rape of a female transitional center prisoner by the mayor, who also served as a warden, a bribery scheme was uncovered. Ten additional officials and consultants, including three former state legislators two Republicans and one Democrat , were indicted in the Department of Justice 's Operation Mississippi Hustle prosecution.

Prior to the Mississippi investigations and prosecutions, a similar investigation began in , dubbed Operation Polar Pen , exposed a wide-ranging bribery scheme of what legislative members themselves called the "Corrupt Bastards Club" CBC.