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There are 2.3 million people living behind bars in the United States
● The US prison system costs the federal government $55 billion every year
PRISON VS. JAIL
● Jails are locally-operated facilities that hold inmates for a short period of time
● Prisons are long-term facilities run by the state or federal government
PRISON: A GROWING INDUSTRY
Between 1990 and 2010, the number of privately operated prisons in the US increased 1600%
● Private prisons bring in roughly $3 billion in revenue every year
● Over half of this comes from holding facilities for undocumented immigrants
● Private prisons run over 50% of detainment facilities for immigrants
BIG BUSINESS
Two of the biggest private prison companies in the country, Corrections Corporation of America and The GEO Group, made $3.3 billion in annual revenue in 2012.
● These two companies make up 75% of the private prison industry
● CCA operates 67 prisons in the US
● GEO Group operates 95 prisons in the U.S. and abroad
Cheap Labor
The prison industry makes money by contracting prison labor to private companies
● This includes
● Starbucks
● Boeing
● Victoria’s Secret
● McDonald’s
● Prisoners work in apparel, document conversion, call centers, printing and clean energy
● A single prisoner’s labor is worth between 93 cents and $4 a day
The Government Paycheck
● “Lockup Quotas”: Contracts guarantee that prison occupancy rates will stay at or above a specified level
● “Low-Crime Taxes”: If occupancy rates are not fulfilled, the government must pay for the empty beds
● In contracts with the government, some private prison companies demand minimum occupancy levels of more than 0%
Price Per Prisoner
Average annual cost for correction expenses per inmate
● The national average for correction expenses per inmate was $28,323/year in 2010
● Harvard’s full-time tuition cost per year is $40,016
● In 2012, New York City spent almost $168,000 per inmate in food, housing and security
● of that comes from taxpayer money
Crime Does Pay. But for Whom?
Sources:
http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=qa&iid=322
Top 5 Secrets of the Private Prison Industry | Daily Ticker - Yahoo Finance
Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) - State Corrections Expenditures, FY 1982-2010
6 shocking revelations about how private prisons make money - Salon.com
NYC's yearly cost per inmate almost as expensive as Ivy League tuition | Fox News
Tuition and cost
Prison Quotas Push Lawmakers To Fill Beds, Derail Reform
 
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