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Forum Post: Private Purchasing of Prisons Locks in Occupancy Rates at 90%

Posted 10 years ago on Sept. 12, 2012, 9 a.m. EST by TrevorMnemonic (5827)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

WASHINGTON – At a time when states are struggling to reduce bloated prison populations and tight budgets, a private prison management company is offering to buy prisons in exchange for various considerations, including a controversial guarantee that the governments maintain a 90% occupancy rate for at least 20 years.

The $250 million proposal, circulated by the Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America to prison officials in 48 states, has been blasted by some state officials who suggest such a program could pressure criminal justice officials to seek harsher sentences to maintain the contractually required occupancy rates. "You don't want a prison system operating with the goal of maximizing profits," says Texas state Sen. John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat and advocate for reducing prison populations through less costly diversion programs. "The only thing worse is that this seeks to take advantage of some states' troubled financial position." STORY: Proposal to buy prisons raises ethical concerns Corrections Corporation spokesman Steve Owen defended the company's "investment initiative," describing it as "an additional option" for cash-strapped states to consider.

The proposal seeks to build upon a deal reached last fall in which the company purchased the 1,798-bed Lake Erie Correctional Institution from the state of Ohio for $72.7 million. Ohio officials lauded the September transaction, saying that private management of the facility would save a projected $3 million annually. Linda Janes, chief of staff for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said the purchase came at time when the state was facing a $8 billion shortfall. The $72.7 million prison purchase was aimed at helping to fill a $188 million deficit within the corrections agency.

Ohio's deal requires the state to maintain a 90% occupancy rate, but Janes said that provision remains in effect for 18 months — not 20 years — before it can be renegotiated. As part of the deal, Ohio pays the company a monthly fee, totaling $3.8 million per year. Roger Werholtz, former Kansas secretary of corrections, said states may be tempted by the "quick infusion of cash," but he would recommend against such a deal.

"My concern would be that our state would be obligated to maintain these (occupancy) rates and subtle pressure would be applied to make sentencing laws more severe with a clear intent to drive up the population," Werholtz said.




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[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (23680) 7 years ago

"Harvard University debate team loses to New York inmates"


Free the prisoners and end the Prison Industrial Complex.

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 10 years ago

Welcome to the future of the corporate/police state

Minor drug offenders fill your prisons, you don't even flinch. All our taxes paying for the wars against the new non-rich.

They're trying to build a prison. They're trying to build a prison.

The percentage of Americans in the prison system, prison system, has doubled since 1985

All research and successful drug policy shows that treatment should be increased. And law enforcement decreased while abolishing mandatory minimum sentences.

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (5843) 10 years ago

More "Corporate War Of Aggression", against "We The People".

With privatization comes less accountability, and probably slave labor.

[-] 2 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 10 years ago

booming slave labor in the prison system is the goal.

[-] 1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 10 years ago

That's a fascinating conspiracy theory that I haven't heard before, and I'm a conspiracy theory connoisseur.

[-] 2 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 10 years ago

at 25 cents an hour

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 10 years ago

You should get out more.


"nearly a million prisoners are now making office furniture, working in call centers, fabricating body armor, taking hotel reservations, working in slaughterhouses or manufacturing textiles, shoes and clothing, while getting paid somewhere between 93 cents and $4.73 per day."

[-] -1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 10 years ago

That article doesn't really give the same kind of impression that you brought to mind of evil Mr Burns cackling while Homer breaks rocks on a chain gang in striped pajamas with an iron ball chained to his leg. I like your version better, that the "goal" of prison privatization is cheap labor. Definitely way more entertaining.

[-] 2 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 10 years ago

Your condescending words do not change the facts I shared.

Nor is anything I said in previous comments remotely like the cartoon imagination you have.

Believe it or not there are people that want to exploit other people for profit.

The goal of prison privatization is profit.

Profit is seen from the slave labor mentioned above as other places like government funding.

Why wouldn't they want more prisoners when more prisoners make them profit? Why wouldn't they want prisoners doing labor if that also makes them a profit?

Did you read the original post about their dream deals of 90% occupancy rates?