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.
Public Safety and Justice Campaign
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. Read more about Humpday Hall of Shame: De-coding prison profiteering
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.Read more about Outstanding recognition for study on private prisons and people of color