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

Humpday Hall of Shame: De-coding prison profiteering

Despite a combined revenue of more than $3.2 billion in 2012, private prison companies like GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) are typically careful not to highlight the fact that they exist to make a profit.  But, regardless of what their PR teams may lead you to believe, these companies have business models that rest on perverse incentives — the more people they incarcerate the stronger their bottom line. [node:read-more:link]

Outstanding recognition for study on private prisons and people of color

Grassroots Leadership is proud to share an exciting new study by our board member, Christopher Petrella.  Christopher is a doctoral candidate in African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and recently published “The Color of Corporate Corrections, Part II: Contractual Exemptions and the Overrepresentation of People of Color in Private Prisons,” in Radical Criminology.  His research presents two related arguments that are valuable in framing Grassroots Leadership’s commitment to ending for-profit incarceration.

First, Christopher found that people of color are overrepresented in prisons controlled by for-profit management companies relative to public facilities of the same security-level because private prison firms try to maximize the percentage of low-cost, healthy and young individuals they contain. Health and age, therefore, serve as stand-in selection criteria for race without any explicit reference to it. Historical sentencing patterns beginning with the so-called “War on Drugs” have fomented trends whereby prisoners over the age of 50 are disproportionately “non-Hispanic, white” and prisoners under 50 are disproportionately persons of color. Generally, the private prison paradigm is based on one premise: meet shareholder expectation by growing profits and minimizing losses. One of the surest ways to achieve that objective is to limit the number of high-cost prisoners with chronic health conditions through contract exemptions. This practice tends to result in a prisoner profile that is far younger—and healthier—in private prisons relative to public facilities and therefore ultimately yields an over-representation of people of color. Moreover, his research provides an irrefutable example of the ways in which seemingly “race neutral” or "colorblind" carceral policies continue to have a differential impact on communities of color.


Open letter to WV prisoners: Beware of private prisons before signing away your rights

As part of our ongoing efforts to stop the state of West Virginia from shipping prisoners across state lines to private for-profit prisons, Grassroots Leadership is sending an open letter to prisoners in West Virginia to raise awareness of their constitutional rights that are at risk. State lawmakers continue to debate sending prisoners to private facilities run by the Corrections Corporation of America in Kentucky instead of pursuing other options that would truly address the state’s overcrowded prisons issues and would adhere to the state constitution.  Unlike other states that we highlighed in our recent report Locked Up and Shipped Away, West Virginia's constitution bars banishment of prisoners, which places prisoners in a unique and critical role in advocating against CCA profiteering from their transfer.  They have the right to say no and to be incarcerated and rehabilitated within the state of West Virginia.