Monday, May 16, 2011

Private Prison Corps. Benefitting from Crackdowns

illegal immigrant Pictures, Images and Photos

Some more specifics on the Corrections Corporation of America referred to in an NPR exposé of the lobbyists behind Arizona Senate Bill 1070,


"[Corrections Corporation of America] says its facilities perform as well as or better than regular ICE facilities or state prisons: "We view ourselves as part of the system, and a complement to what our government partners do. Both our government partners and our industries have evolved over the last 30 years and don't view it through that frame. We are trying to partner with them and be a complement to the existing system." And it vehemently denies that its business harms the public good — indeed, it claims to trim budgets and provide a more flexible alternative to the public prison industry. Still, many of the industry's critics regard its work as repugnant under any circumstance, because of the perverse incentive of CCA and others to increase the volume of people behind bars, with an emphasis on people ill-suited to advocating for their release. CCA's business model is similar to that of the hotel industry, in that profits come from filling beds with paying customers. And just as the Bellagio markets hard to persuade travel agents to bring their customers to Las Vegas, CCA lobbies hard to get state corrections departments to send their clients to Club CCA.

Its lobbying arm spends on average $1 million to $2 million annually — a minuscule amount, CCA says, compared with the lobbying efforts of comparably sized companies and other organizations, such as public employee unions. In fact, the amount is slightly above average for corporations of its size, as judged by publicly available lobbying records maintained by the website OpenSecrets. CCA's opponents, however, say they are more concerned about the effect of the lobbying than the number of dollars spent. They claim the lobbying has resulted in harsher laws, and thus more demand for CCA bed space."

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