Humpday Hall of Shame: Private Operators Poised to Cash In on California's Crowded Prison Crisis


Are private prisons the only answer to the current overcrowding crisis in California’s correctional system?  Having recently lost five state contracts and suffered a decrease in shares and revenues, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the country’s largest for-profit prison company, certainly hopes so.

In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that California’s severely overcrowded state prison system had resulted in such poor prison conditions that they were in violation of the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.  Accordingly, the court ordered the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to take immediate action to reduce its prison population by more than 30,000 prisoners.  

Though the state has reduced the number of prisoners in its 33 prisons from 150,000 in 2009 to about 119,000 prisoners today, a federal three-judge panel has rejected Governor Brown’s recent request to delay the order, ordering the state to further reduce its prison population by approximately 9,600 by the end of the year.  


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