Money Can Buy Happiness: Private Prison Industry’s Lucrative Power

people-over-profit

America’s justice system is built atop a reward driven hypocrisy. Criminals are chastised by the government, feared by our society, and demonized by the media. Yet, the true break in morality lies not by those behind bars, but instead by those responsible for the profitable policies in place. The law makers are simply obeying the strings pulled by the private prison industry, the true puppeteers.

The idea of buying influence has become a fundamental part of American Democracy. Companies have been “donating” money to politicians for over a century. Now however, this influence has shackled millions. In 1983, the Correctional Corporation of America (CCA) opened its door as the first of many “prison for profit” company in the world. Prison population have grown 790 percent since then. Is this coincidentally connected? I think not.

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Florida is the perfect example of this phenomenon. The state’s prison demographic resembles the national average, making Florida an appropriate representation. Despite the decrease in crime rates, the incarcerated population continues to increase. Florida leads the country in long prison sentencing. On average, a Floridian prisoner will serve an extra nine months in jail than that of an average prisoner convicted of a similar crime. This is taking money out of taxpayers’ pockets and depositing billions in the private prison industry’s account.

Marco Rubio, the current republican senator for Florida, has received over $40,000 in campaign donations from the GEO Group, another profit for prison company. The GEO and the CCA have pumped a total of 2.2 million dollars into Florida’s republican party since the 80’s. In return, these politicians are contracting the companies for hundred-billion dollar prisons deals and supplying the bodies to fill the facilities built.

The influence goes so much farther than just money. The private prison industry also has members working closely with policymakers. Again, Rubio falls victim to this influence. Not only is his chief of staff, Cesar Conda, a previous employee of the GEO, he is actively on their payroll for $150,000 as well. But wait there is more…Rubio also added Donna Arduin to his political team as his Economic Consultant. Arduin was a past real estate trustee for the GEO. This gives the private prison industry a first row seat to policy.

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Although Florida was used as the example, this is a national epidemic. Across the country, private prisons are popping up. California’s Three-Strike Rule and Arizona’s Anti-Illegal Immigration Act are both sad examples of how for profit prisons influence policies. 

The GEO and CCA both have made it clear that people are just dollar signs. The greed shared among the private prison industry has bred a culture where a person’s rehabilitation into society comes second to profit.

This is seen below, the CCA wrote to their shareholder to warn them about possible changes in profit:

“Any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.” ~CCA February 2011 Form 10-K filing

The reduction of crime is exactly what our country should be trying to achieve, yet it is the one thing these companies are trying to avoid. The private prison industry is just an euphemism for human trafficking, bodies for profit. We are taking a step backwards America!

Listen to my podcast below if you want to hear more about Florida’s private industry

Watch below if you want a closer look at how the private prison is making their money:

 

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