Friday, September 17, 2004

The Ultimate Privatization

The website of this organisation reads:

"CCA has approximately 66,000 beds in 65 facilities, including 38 owned facilities, under contract for management in 20 states and the District of Columbia."

NO! this is not a healthcare corporation!

CCA (Correction Corporation of America) is the largest privately-run prison system in USA (and perhaps also in the world).

A news item in the NewStandard reports:

Private Prison Operator Expects Business to Grow

Sep 14 - Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison firm in the country, said severe overcrowding in the United States federal prison system is likely to help fatten the bottom line of corporate prison operators. Federal prisons are running at more than 130 percent of capacity, the company told investors. The majority of people incarcerated are male and between the ages of 18 and 24. With the overall population of this demographic increasing, the company assumes more people will be thrown into prison, also helping business.

"Successfully exploiting these opportunities should result in strong earnings and cash flow growth," CCA bragged to investors, according to the Associated Press.

The company said the Bush administration's post-9/11 immigration policy of mass roundups and increased police presence in urban areas over the last four years has led to higher incarceration rates. That, combined with the historic trend of increased incarceration, will likely promote increased use of private prisons in the US. CCA also noted that the national turn toward private prisons has been greatly helped by the Bush administration, which has reduced the construction of prisons in favor of contracting private companies and local governments.

Ken Kopczynski, who works with the Private Corrections Institute Inc., a group that opposes private prisons, told the AP, "These people are making money off the hope we keep locking people up and there's more crime, which is a sorry state of affairs to say something like that."

Since 1975, the lockup rate has climbed to 400 out of every 100,000 citizens, compared with 100 out of 100,000 in the 50 years prior.

In fact, prisons seem to be good for economy and business. Excerpts from anther article:

"...other states, such as California, Tennessee, Kansas, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Nevada and Iowa, which have incorporated prisoners into the labor force, placing artificial downward pressure on wages. Thousands of state and federal prisoners are currently generating more than $1 billion per year in sales for private businesses, often competing directly with the private sector labor force. The Correctional Industries Association predicts that by the year 2000, 30 percent of America's inmate population will labor to create nearly $9 billion in sales for private business interests.

Oregon has even started advertising its prison labor force and factories, claiming that businesses who utilize incarcerated workers would otherwise go overseas for cheap labor (thanks, GATT and NAFTA!). In 1995, an overwhelming majority of Oregon voters passed a constitutional amendment that will put 100 percent of its state inmates to work.

And they'll be making a lot more than license plates and road signs. One product of Oregon's inmate factories are uniforms for McDonald's. Tennessee inmates stitch together jeans for Kmart and JC Penney, as well as $80 wooden rocking ponies for Eddie Bauer. Mattresses and furniture are perennial favorites in prison factories, and Ohio inmates even produced car parts for Honda, until the United Auto Workers intervened. Prisoners have been employed doing data entry, assembling computer circuit boards and even taking credit card ticket orders for TWA.

....Although prison manufacturing facilities do offer short-term benefits at a time when budgets are strained to the breaking point, the system is ripe for exploitation and abuse by government and corporate entities seeking to cut financial corners.

....So why do they do it? In California, prisoners who refuse to work are moved to discliplinary housing and lose canteen priveleges, as well as "good time" credit that slices hard time off their sentences."

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