« Eleventh Circuit weighs in on ex post facto issues after Booker | Main | Lots of data and a cool graphic concerning international use of the death penalty »

March 28, 2011

New NPR investigative series on private prisons

NPR has this interesting and notable new set of pieces on private prisions:

Here is the start from one of the pieces: 

The country with the highest incarceration rate in the world — the United States — is supporting a $3 billion private prison industry.  In Texas, where free enterprise meets law and order, there are more for-profit prisons than any other state.  But because of a growing inmate shortage, some private jails cannot fill empty cells, leaving some towns wishing they'd never gotten in the prison business.

It seemed like a good idea at the time when the west Texas farming town of Littlefield borrowed $10 million and built the Bill Clayton Detention Center in a cotton field south of town in 2000.  The charmless steel-and-cement-block buildings ringed with razor wire would provide jobs to keep young people from moving to Lubbock or Dallas.

For eight years, the prison was a good employer.  Idaho and Wyoming paid for prisoners to serve time there.  But two years ago, Idaho pulled out all of its contract inmates because of a budget crunch at home.  There was also a scandal surrounding the suicide of an inmate.

Shortly afterward, the for-profit operator, GEO Group, gave notice that it was leaving, too. One hundred prison jobs disappeared. The facility has been empty ever since.

March 28, 2011 at 06:52 PM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e20147e38757e8970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference New NPR investigative series on private prisons:

Comments

This is left wing, big government propaganda by case selection. I can investigate those made into saints for their great morality and piety. I can find 1% rate of corruption, focus on that minority to bash the entire group. Any article by NPR, by definition, is misleading propaganda. They will never present even the smallest fact in rebuttal. They have the credibility of 9/11 Truthers, Vaccine Opponents, Holocaust Deniers, and DP Abolitionists. They are the propaganda arm of the left wing of the Democrat Party, the Party of government workers.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 29, 2011 12:17:51 AM

Private prisons and the obvious conflicts of interest and moral issues that they present make their existence in this country a disgrace. Where else but America?

I suppose the one other place I wouldn't be surprised to see private prisons is Russia. That would fit: Putin and some oil oligarch partnering up in a nice Russian private prison corporation that could list on the Moscow exchange, with a couple ancillary businesses on the side to profit from the free labor. (That's Louis Freeh's gig these days: manufacturing uniforms for the US military using prison labor.)

These quaint NPR stories are just a speck on the tip of the iceberg with respect to this issue. To echo Justice Stevens' scolding of the people of California for passing a three-strikes law that was put on the ballot by a prison guard union that has a stated goal of increasing incarceration rates across the board: shame on us. Shame on all of us for letting this sort of tragic lunacy happen in our own country. The state legislatures that have allowed private prisons to operate in their states are generally corrupt, with various angles and all sorts of reciprocal back-scratching enjoyed by all, but we are still the ones that ultimately let it happen.

Private prisons... An industry based on slowly and methodically depriving people of their lives, the profits of which depend upon finding more and more people to slowly suffocate while maximizing the margin between the day-rate paid by the state and the amount spent barely keeping the poor bastards alive in their pens. Charming.

Posted by: James | Mar 29, 2011 1:49:16 AM

James bashes government correction workers for supporting a three strikes law. Then he bashes the alternative to having more government correction workers, the private sector contractor. That leaves one alternative. Loose the vicious predators onto the neighborhoods of minorities. That would generate massive needs for government social welfare workers to respond to the pathologies and devastation they would generate. If James is from that government funded social welfare camp, he is promoting his economic self interest without disclosure to the reader.

Disclosure. The Supremacy does better when there is chaos and evil, and is always arguing against economic self interest. For example, about 30% of the income of the Supremacy is generated by court mandated work. It is worthless make work, but most appreciated personal benefit from lawyer attack on our nation. Sometimes the Supremacy does have trouble taking the money, but justifies doing so by, "That is the way the law is. I am not responsible for this worthless rip off mandated work." When the Supremacy says, "I love the lawyer and the law," she may be talking prostitution. The paths are wide and obvious, with huge, flashing, neon sign arrows pointing, to cutting the health budget in half and improving health outcomes, to elimination of 90% of crime, to having a baseline growth rate of 10% a year. Control the lawyer hierarchy. But, "That is not the way the law is. So be it."

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 29, 2011 7:16:24 AM

NPR has accomplished an outstanding presentation on the truth about corruption and profit within our prisons. Swept quietly under the rug, Florida lawmakers have recently decided to add 17 "for-profit" private prisons to their State. State laws are rigged to capture and keep many prisoners to fill the beds needed to attain a profit. Taxpayers are the big losers, while a few get rich. GEO Group, a publicly traded private prison company, claims Florida as its headquarters; and has contributed handsomly to politicians, judges and lawmakers.

Some of the prisons sport different titles, such as, "Civil Commitment Centers" or "Juvenile Centers." In those cases, it's practically impossible to be released. The poor souls who find themselves within those facilities are given the least amount of food to sustain themselves and are not provided clothing or other necessities of life. Underneath it all, most of the inmates held within these facilities have either committed no crime, or a crime of little impact. They are folks just like you and me.

As a member of the clergy, I would like to say, "The Lord will never bless a nation whereby leaders incarcerate and hold captive their own citizens."

Posted by: Clergy | Mar 30, 2011 10:58:45 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB