Over the past 20 years, American crime rates have dropped. During this time, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s owner of private prisons has seen profits raise by 500%. CCA has now proposed buying prisons from 48 states. As part of the proposal, occupancy rates would have to remain at 90%. This is a common practice for the industry that requires a certain amount of beds to be filled regardless of crime rates.
Three states: Oklahoma, Arizona, and Virginia have occupancy requirements in their contract with the nation’s largest major private prison corporations. These same companies are helping writing laws that will ensure prison population are up to their criteria. These cities and states are depending on these numbers to be met. However, another state shows the failure of private prisons and it’s cost to taxpayers.
In Colorado,crime has dropped, by a third and forced the closure of state prisons over the past 4 years. However, Gov. John Hickenlooper entered into a deal with CCA to house 3,300 prisoners. This deal is estimated to have cost the state $2 million. As a result of these bad financial decisions, many are now drafting legislation that would ban occupancy requirements. This is a decision states must make considering the need for public safety versus the desire of some corporations to profit off prisons.
This is the video CCA doesn’t want you to see!