Quick on the heels of our protest outside the Corrections Corporation of America stockholder meeting, a study emerged last week from Temple University that outlines the fiscal benefits of privatizing prisons. The researchers concluded that privatization could save the state of Arizona between 14% and 22% without sacrificing quality -- the exact opposite findings of a study by the Tucson Citizen, which found that the price to incarerate someone had increased 13.9% since the contracts began. Even data from the Arizona Department of Corrections revealed that for-profit prisons cost the state an extra $10 million a year. We certainly weren’t surprised to find out that the study was funded by "members of the private prison industry." Prison Legal News issued a press release on May 22 which cites numerous other studies CCA has funded to promote its "benefits."
Despite the study’s questionable origins, CCA wasted no time promoting it on social media. They sent this tweet at us and other civil rights advocates* which opened a public dialogue on social media that even drew the attention of actor D.L. Hughley!
CCA played right into our hands and gave us the opportunity to expose the back story on the Temple study, and since then the debate has continued. Just today the Oklahoman published this letter to the editor which states, "The public has a right to know when academic research is funded by for-profit companies that directly benefit from the results of that research. It’s remarkable how studies that are funded by private prison firms frequently find cost savings or other benefits through prison privatization, while research that doesn’t get industry funding typically reports no such benefits."
Regardless of whether or not private prisons save money, we believe that no one should profit from the incarceration of human beings. You can keep up with our fight against profit from pain by following us on Twitter (@Grassroots_News) or on Facebook.
*CCA has since deleted the tweets.