by Reggie Fullwood
The goal of every private corporation is to make money – simple right? Good companies make investments that allow them to maximize their profits, and one of those investments is in politics through lobbyists and campaign contributions.
Why else would any company or person give to a candidate? Sure some people simply like a particular politician or their view on certain issues – that happens every day. But when big corporations pour a lot of money into a candidate or special interest campaign, it’s for a clear reason and that “investment” normally yields a positive return.
So why am I talking about the basics of Business 101? Just call me Captain Obvious. But did you know this fact: the day after Donald Trump won the presidential election, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s biggest operator of private prisons, stock price jump 43 percent.
Interesting right? How about the number two private prison company, the GEO Group? Well, their stock rose 21 percent. How about this fact, since election day both companies stocks are up some 100 percent. But why would these stocks skyrocket without any big contracts being awarded by the federal government?
Well speculation often times drives the stock market, and investors know that private prison corporations went in hard for Trump – contributing hundreds of thousands to his campaign. He even said during campaign interviews that the federal prison system is terrible and he feels that private companies can do a better job.
So guess what happened about a month ago? Remember I talked about corporations expecting a positive return on investment (ROI)?
Attorney General Jeff Sessions basically canceled the policy implemented by President Obama’s Justice Department to phase out the government’s use of private prisons. The government did several studies and found that the condition of the private prison was substandard and there wasn’t any real cost savings.
In fact, the studies found wide-spread corruption and prison guards that were poorly trained and inadequately paid.
Back in the 80s and 90s, private prisons made more sense because of massive arrest and prison overcrowding. That’s not the case anymore. At the height of their use, privately run prisons housed 30,000 federal inmates, which was approximately 15 percent of the total federal prison population. Today, those private faculties only house around 14,000, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
So with their numbers down, private prisons had to be excited about a change of guard in Washington. Here is the scary part about all of this private prison nonsense. Will the new Trump Justice department go hard on crime in an effort to start filling those prisons. Sounds far fetched right? Sounds about as far fetched as Russians working with the Trump campaign to defeat Hilary Clinton. Sounds crazy, but it may be true.
Corruption and mistreatment in private prisons is real.
Private prisons are utilizing their indentured servants or prisoners to perform work for manufacturing, construction and other industries at dirt-cheap prices. They are making millions if not billions from working prisoners and acting as pseudo staffing agencies.
And by the way – many of those who refuse to work for their .25 an hour are thrown into isolation for their disobedience.
This type of arrangement has created what some are calling the “New Slavery.” Kanye West wrote a song about it and guess what – he was right this time.
CCA’s website also says, “CCA benefits America by protecting public safety, employing the best people in solid careers, rehabilitating inmates, giving back to communities, and bringing innovative security to government corrections – all while consistently saving hardworking taxpayers’ dollars.”
Wow! Saving taxpayers dollars is great. However, what’s not great is creating this new slavery system because inmates are being used as indentured servants and violence and corruption run rampant.
Let’s be honest about what this really is. The whole idea of privatized incarceration is morally repulsive. Think about it – we are imprisoning people and putting them in the hands of companies whose primary concern is profit and shareholder return. Human rights take a back seat to profit.
The more people that get locked up, the better the corporation does. It’s a corrupt system with a flawed foundation. This is not a good sign for minority youth.
Signing off from the ‘Ville.