Public Safety and Justice Campaign


Private prison corporations are now a multi-billion dollar industry, preying on rising rates of incarceration and confinement to ensure profit. Through the Public Safety and Justice Campaign, Grassroots Leadership works with partners across the country to expose the private prison industry, stop its expansion, and close existing private prisons.  We believe public safety and justice can only be achieved when no one profits from the incarceration of human beings.


Related Posts

Nov 21, 2014

Why Are Minorities Overrepresented in Private Prisons?

But private prisons often contractually exempt th​emselves from the financial burdens of medically expensive—which is to say older—inmates. It should come as no surprise, then, that according to the study, the "states in which the private versus public racial disparities are the most pronounced also happen to be the states in which the private versus-public age disparities are most salient."

"Race is basically a proxy for health, and therefore age," said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, a criminal justice advocacy group opposed to the for-profit prison industry. "Private prisons pluck healthy folks and send people who are less healthy and therefore more expensive to incarcerate back to the public system."  [node:read-more:link]

Humpday Hall of Shame: Profit motive leads to revolving door, corruption, federal indictment in Mississippi

The Mississippi Department of Corrections is a repeat offender in our Humpday Hall of Shame.  In recent years we’ve highlighted stories of violence, inmate and staff deaths, uprisings, lawsuits against MDOC and the private prison companies that operate several Mississippi facilities.  

Last week, long-time MDOC Commissioner, Christopher Epps, abruptly resigned from his post, offering no comment on his reasons for leaving the agency.  Other spokespeople for the agency and the state remained tight-lipped about the resignation, raising eyebrows for many.  Within twenty-four hours it came to light that Epps is facing a 34-count federal indictment on charges of conspiracy, bribery, money laundering conspiracy and wire fraud, offenses that were conducted through MDOC and Epps employing position as Commissioner to cover the scandal.

Allegedly, under Epps’ leadership, MDOC paid close to $1 billion to firms affiliated with Cecil McCrory, a local businessman, former state legislator, and Rankin County School Board President (until he also abruptly resigned from his post this week).  In exchange, McCrory paid Epps nearly one million to guarantee the contracts go to his firms.  Evidently, Epps received so many bribes that he had to launder the money through his multiple properties.


Humpday Hall of Shame: Private Prison Companies Buying “Impartial” Accreditation Agency … Again

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised at this point, but every time a private prison company pops up as a top sponsor of the largest “impartial” accrediting association in the world, we are. This time not one but eight private prison and private correctional healthcare companies, each with a history of human rights violations, are the top sponsors of the American Correctional Association’s 144th Congress of Corrections conference.

Among them are Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group, Management and Training Corporation, Corizon, Wexford Health, MHM Correctional Services, Centurion, and Naphcare.


ACLU of TN delivers petition to Gov. — Kick CCA out of TN!

Today, the nation’s first and largest for-profit private prison company, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), is holding its annual shareholders’ meeting in Nashville, TN. The Nashville based, multi-billion dollar corporation and its shareholders profit handsomely from the imprisonment of human beings. 

This time last year, while CCA was celebrating its 30 year anniversary at their shareholders’ meeting, Grassroots Leadership and our partners marched outside and smashed pinatas in protest. We let them know there is nothing to celebrate about 30 years of profiting from pain. Check out more photos of us crashing CCA's party last year HERE.


KSAT - San Antonio exposé: “For private prison corporations, every person that’s in prison is a dollar sign.”

Yesterday, KSAT - San Antonio ran the story, Privately run prisons profit from detainees, featuring Grassroots Leadership’s Executive Director, Bob Libal.

Steve Spriester’s Defenders Investigation sought to talk with those who question whether it’s a good idea to profit from prisoners while raking in taxpayer money. Spriester explained, “There are more than 50 private prisons that can be found in every part of the state-- prisons that will house detainees for a fee, a formula that has built a $1 billion industry."

Grassroots Leadership ED Bob Libal added, "For private prison corporations, every person that's in prison is a dollar sign. Rehabilitation is bad for business; a shrinking prison population hurts the bottom line."

He pinpointed GEO Group as the big private prison player in South Texas, the company that is banking off a combined 2,592 beds at two facilities that bring in more than $114 million per year. [node:read-more:link]

Humpday Hall of Shame: TX Rep. John Culberson in the pocket of private prisons

The Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee held a budget hearing April 10, where they discussed ways to reduce the rising costs of our mass incarceration system. Charles E. Samuels, Jr., Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, testified. Per the usual, privatization was offered as a viable option.

The hearing began with a discussion of the prison industry program, and many members of the subcommittee lamented that the program had been reduced in recent years to prevent competition with the private sector. Supporters of those programs, including Chairman Frank Wolf (VA) and Rep. John Culberson (TX), were particularly frustrated that fewer prisoners in federal prisons are manufacturing goods when, “we are importing products from slave labor camps in communist China.” Unfortunately, that was only the beginning.

Rep. Culberson wasted no time in advocating for not only an expansion of private prison industries, but also the use of private prison contractors. He began by highlighting the “great success in Texas using private contractors to come and build and operate private facilities.” Without any data to support his claims, he went on the say that private facilities in Texas, “operate at a significant savings to taxpayers and provide, frankly, better facilities, better food and better healthcare.” Where he got this information remains unclear. 


Koch Institute mass incarceration panelists call out private prisons

On April 16, 2014 the Charles Koch Institute and Mediaite hosted Rule of Law: How the Criminal Justice System Impacts Well-Being, a panel discussion in Austin, TX, which sought to foster discussion focused on the impacts of mass incarceration on our society. For an event branded by Koch — the family name notorious for their mutli-billion dollar conglomerate Koch Industries, Inc. and pro-free market and privatization ideology — the discussion around the for-profit, private prison industry was an interesting one.  


Hump Day Hall of Shame: Kentucky locks up aging and sick, CCA gets rich...twice

Kentucky plans to make the private prison company, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), rich off of taxpayer money by locking up aging and sick people. This new prison plan will fill a CCA prison that closed after prisoners were relocated due to horrendous sexual assault allegations and penal reforms.

Despite the fact that Kentucky kicked CCA out of their state mere months ago, they are allowing the company to fill this empty prison to operate as an “assisted living and nursing facility.” Kentucky’s Department of Corrections has made it clear that this is not an initiative they requested or are behind.