Private Prisons: 10 Things You Need to Know

I've been spending my Saturday researching private prisons and the lobbying they are doing to influence our criminal justice system and government. I thought I'd share some quick facts. Please, spread the word. This is a bipartisan issue, it's not fiscally responsible and most importantly it's inhumane.

1. The private sector of incarceration first started in America in 1983.

2. As of 2012 there were six million+ people under some type of correctional supervision in the U.S.

3. African Americans are incarcerated at a rate seven times that of whites.

4. Private prisons cost states more than public prisons.

5. The two biggest players in private prisons are GEO Group/GEO and CCA/CoreCivic.

6. GEO Group and CCA have spent $35 million on campaign contributions and lobbying since 1989.

7. There are bed mandates in almost every private prison contract. A bed mandate is a legal obligation to fill 90-100% of the beds. Which means we either incarcerate enough people or use taxpayer money to pay prisons for the empty beds.

8. CCA/CoreCivic and GEO Group gave Trump half a million dollars and are about to see a large ROI primarily due to two things. First, Sessions killing Obama's order to phase out of private prisons. Second, Trump's new immigration policies. (A letter was leaked back in February in which White House immigration staffers suggest Homeland Security increase their quota of people (immigrants, human-trafficking victims and refugees) held in immigration detention centers from 33,000 to around 80,000. CCA and GEO own 70%+ of privately owned ICE beds.)

9. People in both major political parties accept money from private prisons. The breakdown is approx. 85/15% Rep/Dem. Seems to me this should be 0/0%.

10. Many members of congress own stock in private prison corporations. This seems like a clear conflict of interest and I will work to prohibit these sorts of conflicts of interest.

Additional reading:

https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2016/08/spotlight-on-private-prisons-lobbying-and-otherwise/

https://bulletin.represent.us/hillary-rubio-private-prison-contributions/

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/civil-rights/324577-trumps-connection-to-private-prisons-proves-why-citizens

https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacgot.php?cmte=C00382150&cycle=2016