Insight News

Feb 08th

Private prisons in our midst, part IV of IV

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In this day and age, many people have started new businesses of their own.

There are home health care agencies, soul food restaurants, and a variety of social service organizations to choose from. This wide open arena gives us, the consumer, a choice of how we spend our time and our money.

This is good. When it's not so good is when it applies to the thriving private prison industry. As private prisons in our nation become more and more popular, and the demand to fill them up (for-profit) increases, it becomes apparent to me that this is not a good situation.

Many inmates have been "lost" in the system because of clandestine agreements between states and private prisons to transfer prisoners across the country due to overcrowded facilities or other reasons not given. This leaves the family at a huge disadvantage of ever going to visit their loved one, which snowballs into hopelessness and despair.

Private prisons, with their stringent but simple contracts, have a singular tunnel vision goal which is to remain profitable. To remain profitable, in this day and age, seems to require choices, and private prisons are not exempt. Certain cities in California (Pasedena, LaVerne, Seal Beal, Montebelo, etc.) offered well-to-do persons that were convicted of a crime the choice to be housed in nice, private cells, with access to cell phones, iPods, and even computers in some cases. For $45 - $175 a day, some non-violent offenders could choose to live in a luxurious, contracted private prison while doing time.

Correction Corporation of America (NYSE: CXW) (CCA) and other large private prison owners are very creative on how to get prison business. Though this method is not common across the country, the obvious eye on profit is not lost on anyone.

So, what's next – private prisons that offer cells with pet accommodations or perhaps a grocery store in prison where the not-so-rich can use an EBT card?

For profit is for profit. It is with sincerity that I suggest we don't discount the greed of private prisons and their need for business, which consist of our loss of freedom (incarceration). Attend your local neighborhood meetings; find out what new laws deemed criminal have been passed within our state government overnight. Read, listen, and vote. The private prison business can fail, but only without our participation.


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