Private prison corporation Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) operates 60 facilities across the United States, primarily in the South, but they’re itching to expand across the country. Last month, CCA sent proposals to state governments of the lower 48 states in a sort of sales pitch, offering to take the state-run prisons off their hands, spinning it as a sort of relief measure for skint state coffers.
A coalition of both policy and religious leaders have sent a follow-up letter to the same states, reminding them of the moral and financial inanity of outsourcing something so intrinsic to the operation of the state:
Today’s letters come in response to a letter sent last month by CCA to officials in 48 states announcing what it is calling a “corrections investment initiative,” in which CCA is offering to purchase prisons from states so long as they contain at least 1,000 beds and the states agree to pay CCA to operate the prisons for at least 20 years and keep the prisons at least 90 percent full.
(Emphasis mine, because gosh.) That America has a crisis of incarceration should be apparent to anyone paying the least bit of attention–our country throws more citizens in prison that any other country in the world, both by capita and in sheer numbers–but for a private prison company to suggest that part of its terms of business with the state would be that the state would promise to keep the prisons full is baldly monstrous.
In the slightest bit of bright side, New York is one of the few states in the Union to have outlawed private prisons. Let’s keep it that way–we’ve got enough work cut out for us just our disproportionately black and latino prisoners out of the clink.