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Stop Prison Privatization

Spotlight Shines on ALEC's Anti-Middle Class Agenda - and its Cost to States

As the middle class remains under sustained attack in state legislatures, media attention is increasingly turning to the corporate interests orchestrating a national spread of industry-written bills seeking to weaken state economies, strip workers of their rights, suppress voter turnout, and capitalize on the politics of division and fear – all in pursuit of private profit. In a spate of recent reports, specific scrutiny is being focused on the role of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in allowing corporations access to influence state laws that benefit their bottom lines at the expense of the economic security of families.

Private Prison Firm Exploiting Broken Immigration System

Who benefits from hyping criminal enforcement as the solution to the immigration issue? 

As a Service and Employees International Union (SEIU) campaign highlights, one key player profiting off the nation's broken immigration system is the private prison firm, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).  CCA operates and profits significantly from private prisons across the country, many of which house immigrants in detention, a kind of legal limbo in which immigrants are imprisoned while their cases are being considered, or who are in the process of being deported.

Privatization During an Economic Downturn: Still Inefficient and Problematic

The lure is the supposed promise that privatization will deliver a short-term budget fix.  Yet many privatization efforts, as this Dispatch will highlight, have cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and botched services for the public.  That privatization continues to move forward despite such a poor track record reflects pure ideology that the private market delivers the most efficient outcomes, even without demonstrable results.  Some states may also be making the more cynical decision to pursue immediate short-term infusions of capital at the expense of long-term financial cost in pursuit of short-term electoral gains.  In any case, privatization comes at the expense of long-term investments in the community, sustainable budget policy and public accountability.

IN: Prison Riots and Privatization

Take 1200 prisoners from Arizona, hire Indiana at $64 per day to house them, then ship them 1500 miles from home and loved ones to a private prison in New Castle, Indiana run by the GEO Group, a private prison company that has been repeatedly cited for substandard conditions. When a riot among 500 prisoners broke out last week, with prisoners taking over the facility for two hours, it was hardly surprising to observers.

Stopping Privatization Profiteering

A number of state leaders have been promoting what seems like a free lunch. Hand over control of government services to private industry and those companies promise better service at a lower price. Like most promises of a free lunch, privatization has mostly ended up being a deceptive boondoggle, a point the non-partisan news sourceStateline.org emphasized this past week:

Private Prisons Steer Money to Influence Sentencing Laws

The Institute on Money in State Politics, a tireless group of people who compile campaign finance data for all fifty states and regularly report national trends, have a new report "Policy Lock-Down: Prison Interests Court Political Players" looking at the $3.3 million private prison companies have donated to state-level actors in the last two election cycles.