Business is Booming

This is just crazy:

In the United States — with almost 400,000 annual detentions in 2010, up from 280,000 in 2005 — private companies now control nearly half of all detention beds, compared with only 8 percent in state and federal prisons, according to government figures. In Britain, 7 of 11 detention centers and most short-term holding places for immigrants are run by for-profit contractors.

The only thing crazier to me than outsourcing prisons to private contractors is outsourcing military work, and we do both with gusto.






56 replies
  1. 1
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    But… but… the Invisible Hand!

    This just means it’s busy working its magic… and we’re all so much better off for it, no?

  2. 2
    David Hunt says:

    @The Republic of Stupidity:

    The Invisible Hand is giving us the finger.

  3. 3
    Gilles de Rais says:

    The prison guard’s union in California is the number 1 contributor to the GOP.

    This is no accident.

  4. 4
    Linnaeus says:

    Say it with me: neofeudalism.

  5. 5
    Maude says:

    Thank you, Ronald Reagan.

  6. 6
    piratedan says:

    connect the dots …. AZ has been privatizing its prisons and guess what other hat the Governor’s chief of staff wears….. Guess what else inspired the SB1070 law, you gotta detain all those brown people somewhere, and the government pays you to house them until each person can be vetted as to whether they are in the country illegally. It’s a win-win, you scare brown people to “knowing their place” and you reap corporate profits for doing so.

  7. 7
    Corner Stone says:

    After the PA “kids for cash” imbroglio I’m not sure how anyone can advocate for privatization of prisons. Well, anyone not owning the private company or their paid flacks, I mean.

  8. 8
    Paul in KY says:

    Pretty soon tax collection will be bidded out, as under the Romans. That’ll be fun.

  9. 9
    cleek says:

    the invisible hand is elbow-deep in the public trough.

  10. 10
    John X. says:

    Widespread use of mercenaries – and that’s what any “private sector” security force is, by definition – is one of those practices that old-school historians used to include on lists of “Signs Your Empire is Failing.”

  11. 11
    ruemara says:

    War is a racket. And grifters gotta grift. Problem is, most of the voting public thinks they’re part of the grift, not the targets.

  12. 12
    Emma says:

    If I remember my long ago history classes correctly, towards the end of the Roman Empire, mercenaries made up a large part of the legions and the Praetorian Guard.

    (edit) oops. John X. said it first

  13. 13
    MattF says:

    It is amazing, sometimes the NYT prints an article that really is news. So, what do you think– if you’re going to have concentration camps, is it OK to outsource them? I’m thinkin’ about this one, it’s a toughie.

  14. 14
    Sloegin says:

    Private prisons and private armies cost taxpayers loads more than ones run by the ‘Gummit. Those same organizations are always looking to grow themselves over time as well. In GOP parlance, win-win.

  15. 15
    Montysano says:

    But….but… Soshulism! Class warfare! Radical leftwing Kenyan Marxist!

    @Linnaeus:

    Say it with me: neofeudalism.

    Yup.

  16. 16
    Pliny says:

    Especially awesome is when you get a really powerful union (like the California prison guard’s union) lobbying to increase the number of people incarcerated in the country that imprisons more of its citizens than any nation in the history of the world.

    Disclaimer: I like and support unions but come the fuck on.

  17. 17
    PaminBB says:

    This, on top of Kay’s article a couple down on the privatization of schools, really distresses me. We’re doomed.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Threadkiller says:

    @david hunt:

    The Invisible Hand is giving us a cavity search. It won’t stop until it feels the back of our teeth.

  20. 20
    Zifnab says:

    @Paul in KY: Hahaha! They actually rolled that rule back when Obama came into office.

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/.....tion_N.htm

    Next time you need an excuse to vote Democrat…

  21. 21
    Linnaeus says:

    @John X.:

    Widespread use of mercenaries – and that’s what any “private sector” security force is, by definition – is one of those practices that old-school historians used to include on lists of “Signs Your Empire is Failing.”

    Some dude named Niccolo Macchiavelli warned against this.

  22. 22
    Linnaeus says:

    @Pliny:

    Especially awesome is when you get a really powerful union (like the California prison guard’s union) lobbying to increase the number of people incarcerated in the country that imprisons more of its citizens than any nation in the history of the world.

    Disclaimer: I like and support unions but come the fuck on.

    Trust me, there are plenty of other unionists who are not happy about the prison guard’s union lobbying.

  23. 23

    I have often wondered what kind of karma you build up when you earn your living by incarcerating your fellow humans.

  24. 24
    Moonbatting Average says:

    A market incentive to incarcerate people, what could possibly go wrong?

  25. 25
    Montysano says:

    @Pliny:

    Stephen Fry on American Prisons Facts

    Just watched it. Holy fucking shit…

  26. 26

    @MattF: The SS, remember, was not a government agency, but a private corporation working under contract….

  27. 27
    Mark S. says:

    Companies often say that losing a contract is the ultimate accountability.

    Whew, I was worried that this might be an exception to the “Free Markets Solve Everything” rule.

  28. 28
    Citizen_X says:

    The only thing crazier to me than outsourcing prisons to private contractors is outsourcing military work

    Or privatizing education, as Kay wrote about below?

  29. 29
    Judas Escargot says:

    Welcome to the new American Axiom: If it doesn’t make some asshole rich, then it’s not worth doing.

    This is why I (half) jokingly refer to the Rand Virus. Our culture has been literally infected by this destructive mindset.

  30. 30
    Sly says:

    The only thing crazier to me than outsourcing prisons to private contractors is outsourcing military work, and we do both with gusto.

    It seems less crazy when you realize that the animating principle of American economic life is that a guy in a suit has to be able to collect a cut of every transaction, even if he has done nothing to make that transaction more efficient or even occur in the first place. We’re a nation ruled by middle-men at best and of make-believe mafiosi at worst.

  31. 31

    Yeah.

    Private prisons have zero incentive to reform prisoners. They want high recidivism rates. It’s good for the profit margin.

    And then they can take some of the cash from their government contracts and pour it into the coffers of “Tough on Crime” politicians who will proceed to further trample liberties and perpetuate injustices by passing “Tough on Crime” laws that make more of the citizenry criminals and further enrich them.
    This stinks to high heaven.

  32. 32
    WereBear says:

    Yet somehow the Wingnuts never scream about all that sweet govmint money going down the drain… because it’s for cruelty.

    I have come to believe it is that stark and disgusting.

  33. 33

    @Citizen_X:

    No, this is worse.

    At least in theory, companies that provide education have some incentive to (at the least) not make things worse in the schools they preside over. (In practice, I’m sure they buy their way out of accountability)

    Here, even the theory is bullshit. Private prisons have zero incentive to try and reform criminals into decent citizens again. They have incentive to do the opposite.

  34. 34
    EconWatcher says:

    Does anyone know of studies on how private prisons compare to public on physical security issues for prisoners (for example, rape)?

  35. 35
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    This example, like the charter schools thread below, provides us with why “the profit motive” is not the be all and end all of human existence, contrary to the notions of glibertarian fucktards.

    “If money is all you love, then that’s all you’ll receive.”

  36. 36
    Linnaeus says:

    I’m shocked, shocked that this could possibly happen in a capitalist society.

  37. 37
    The Other Chuck says:

    The fun irony in all of this is these private prisons are non-union, so the Prison Guards Union’s agitation for more and more prisons is ultimately going to destroy them in the end.

    Oh, and good riddance. I’m as pro-union as they get, and I want the PGU ground into the fucking dust.

  38. 38
    Linnaeus says:

    @The Other Chuck:

    Oh, and good riddance. I’m as pro-union as they get, and I want the PGU ground into the fucking dust.

    Understandable, but I wouldn’t go that far. Because even that wouldn’t necessarily stop the trend, and then even more people potentially get fucked over.

  39. 39

    Clearly what we need are tougher state sentencing laws and stronger state immigration laws… *
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    * this message brought to you by Corrections Corp. of America, a major backer of ALEC. America: the best democracy money can buy!

  40. 40

    @Linnaeus:

    I’m shocked, shocked that this could possibly happen in a capitalist society.

    Well, no one could have predicted …..

  41. 41

    Speaking of prisons, it appears a couple of Rick Perry’s top advisors committed perjury… I’m sure they’ll get a pat on the head if they promise not to do it again!

    BTW, how come shit like this is all over the outrage-o-sphere when it happens to Democrats but when Republicans do it it’s * crickets *?

  42. 42
    Litlebritdfrnt says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    As they have done here in NC. The new repub legislature has now enacted draconian court costs and fines that are going to eventually result in people being imprisoned for what started out as a simple speeding ticket.

    For example: a minimum wage waitress gets a speeding ticket she goes to court to try and take care of it and discovers that the minimum she will have to pay if she goes ahead and pleads guilty is $178.00 (more than likely a week’s wages). If the ADA reduces the charge to “improper equipment” the costs go up to $228.00. (There is a $50.00 “improper equipment” fee lobbied for by the Insurance Companies). So said waitress can never come up with the court costs and she misses the next court date. DMV revokes her license. Seeing as she has to drive to get to work she gets pulled over and gets a DWLR. She now needs to come up with about $700.00 in costs and fines (plus DMV reinstatement fee). If she gets another DWLR she gets a mandatory prison term.

    What is evil is that the legislature KNOWS that this is going to happen, because in the small print in their new costs and fines charts it states “The Misdemeanant Confinement Fund fee…” they are collecting special fees up front because they know that they are going to increase the prison population by thousands due to misdemeanors. It is insane.

  43. 43
    geg6 says:

    The only thing crazier to me than outsourcing prisons to private contractors is outsourcing military work, and we do both with gusto.

    And schools. You’ve forgotten schools, Cole.

  44. 44
    Litlebritdfrnt says:

    Okay so which word bounced me into moderation this time?

  45. 45
    LanceThruster says:

    Cui bono?

    Follow the money.

  46. 46
    Culture of Truth says:

    “Detention” a benign word… makes me think of George Carlin.

    “It’s like high school! Look, you’re just going to detention!”

  47. 47
    Montysano says:

    On a related note: down here in Alabama, we now have The Toughest Immigration Law In The Country!! Where’s my foam finger! It turns school teachers into immigration cops and preachers into criminals. But…. but… if’n you’re a good ole boy who needs to round up some Messicans at peach-pickin’ time, well… we’re gonna let that slide. Lolwut?!

  48. 48
    handsmile says:

    I eagerly await His Holiness Ross Douthat issuing an encyclical on privatized detention, now that his confreres at the NYT have brought the matter to his attention.

    Without such guidance, I might be tempted to hold the heretical view that the expansion of this system of incarceration would “encourage a more cynical and utilitarian view of why police forces and prisons exist, and what moral standards we should hold them to.” (from “Justice, After Troy Davis”)

    Like Pope Ross’ epistle on maintaining state-sanctioned execution, would not the proliferation of private prisons risk “more overall injustice”? (op. cit.)

    I confess to needing further instruction on how the profit model offers the salvation of prison reform.

  49. 49
    jcgrim says:

    Don’t forget, thanks to Bush & Obama, we’re outsourcing our public schools to for-profit management corporations:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_.....z1ZLsdc1vN

    and justifying it with hack science from neoliberal think-tanks like CAP and the lying Third Way:
    http://schoolfinance101.wordpr.....faced-lie/

    Pretty soon we’ll be privatizing the air we breathe.

  50. 50
    Pliny says:

    @jcgrim:

    No, it will be potable water (seriously)

  51. 51
    Mike in NC says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    Private prisons have zero incentive to reform prisoners. They want high recidivism rates. It’s good for the profit margin.

    Dovetails nicely with the zeal with which many Republican governors have worked to get mandatory sentencing and the abolition of parole.

  52. 52
    LanceThruster says:

    @Montysano:

    Oh yeah? LA County is #1 in Chlamydia and #2 in Gonorrhea!

  53. 53
    Arclite says:

    @Montysano: Yeah, it was exactly these stats that prompted Senator Jim Webb to introduce his prison reform bill, not that it was going to go anywhere.

    Make drugs legal, with a Dr. prescription needed for heroine, cocaine, etc. and the requirement to attend rehab meeting twice a week (with free daycare). Make marijuana legal with some sin taxes, a la tobacco and alcohol. Use the funds for education, as low education is the single largest determining factor on who commits crimes.

    Am I making too much sense?

  54. 54
    rikryah says:

    PRISON.INDUSTRIAL.COMPLEX

  55. 55
    Mino says:

    Since we’ve become a service economy, and the main actor in service, many would argue, is government, the bestest source of service jobs is siphoning-off government services. This is a feature, not a bug, of our current economy. The government serves as an aggregator of public dollars and doles them out to their supporters, who have little to no public accountability.

  56. 56
    Marginalized for stating documented facts says:

    Now it’s time to complete the process of privatization by outsourcing America’s citizenry!

Comments are closed.