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By the Numbers: The U.S.’s Growing For-Profit Detention Industry

By the Numbers: The U.S.’s Growing For-Profit Detention Industry

 

Written by Suevon Lee

The growth of the private detention industry has long been a subject of scrutiny. A recent eight-part series in the New Orleans Times-Picayune chronicled how more than half of Louisiana’s 40,000 inmates are housed in prisons run by sheriffs or private companies as part of a broader financial incentive scheme. The detention business goes beyond just criminal prisoners.

As a Huffington Post investigation pointed out last month, nearly half of all immigrant detainees are now held in privately run detention facilities. Just this week, the New York Times delved into lax oversight at industrial-sized but privately run halfway houses in New Jersey.

We’ve taken a look at some of the numbers associated with the billion-dollar and wide-ranging for-profit detention industry—and the two companies that dominate the market:

General Statistics:

1.6 million: Total number of state and federal prisoners in the United States as of December 2010, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics

128,195: Number of state and federal prisoners housed in private facilities as of December 2010

37: percent by which number of prisoners in private facilities increased between 2002 and 2009

217,690: Total federal inmate population as of May 2012, according to the Bureau of Prisons

27,970: Number of federal inmates in privately managed facilities within the Bureau of Prisons

33,330: Estimated size of detained immigrant population as of 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Corrections Corporation of America

66: number of facilities owned and operated by Corrections Corporation of America, the country’s largest private prison company based on number of facilities

91,000: number of beds available in CCA facilities across 20 states and the District of Columbia

$1.7 billion: total revenue recorded by CCA in 2011

$17.4 million: lobbying expenditures in the last 10 years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics

$1.9 million: total political contributions from years 2003 to 2012, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics

$3.7 million: executive compensation for CEO Damon T. Hininger in 2011

132: recorded number of inmate-on-inmate assaults at CCA-run Idaho Correctional Center between Sept. 2007 and Sept. 2008

42: recorded number of inmate-on-inmate assaults at the state-run Idaho State Correctional Institution in the same time frame (both prisons at the time held about 1,500 inmates)

The Geo Group, Inc., the U.S.’s second largest private detention company

$1.6 billion: total revenue in year 2011, according to its annual report

65: number of domestic correctional facilities owned and operated by Geo Group, Inc.

65,716: number of beds available in Geo Group, Inc.’s domestic correctional facilities

$2.5 million: lobbying expenditures in the last 8 years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics

$2.9 million: total political contributions from years 2003 to 2012, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics

$5.7 million: executive compensation for CEO George C. Zoley in 2011

$6.5 million: damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit against the company last June for the beating death of an inmate by his cellmate at a GEO Group-run Oklahoma prison. An appeal has been filed and is pending.

$1.1 million: fine levied against the company in November 2011 by the New Mexico Department of Corrections for inadequate staffing at one of its prisons

This post was originally published by ProPublica.

 

Related Stories:

Chris Christie’s Ties To the For-Profit Halfway House Industry

Prisoners Should Work In Chain Gangs, Says British Tory MP

A Prison Without Bars Reminds Us We Can Change Entrenched Systems

 

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Photo: eyewashdesign/flickr

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53 comments

+ add your own
8:24AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

There should be no privatized for profit prisons, period. All prisons should be strictly federal, state, provincial or municipal.

11:39AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

of course, anything that can be turned into profit is....i thought people were put into prisons to lessen the harm to society and to rehabilitate them, not to make money off them

11:56AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

some of the numbers showing why public funds should not go to for profit organizations providing public human services--and NEVER should have been permitted by law...statutes should limit provision of human public services to nonprofit organizations

10:12AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

$5.7 million: executive compensation for CEO George C. Zoley of CCA, in 2011

Life can be an amazing thing.

$3.7 million: executive compensation for CEO Damon T. Hininger of The Geo Group, in 2011.

I find it ironic that two of America's worst criminals happen to be in charge of our For Profit Prisons.

Since George Dubya Bush stole the office of the President of the U.S., well, anything is now possible.

America is quickly slipping into the abyss...

9:37AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

so let's join together-all those of every political bent and eliminate the biggest part of the prison inmate number increase-the non violent possessors of drugs. Stop the drug war, that bipartisan offense against common sense.

this is something a majority of Americans want ended or at least modified so let's do something.

4:56AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

Thanks for the info.

1:40AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

Thanks for the info

1:40AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

Thanks for the info

6:01PM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

Just as the military industrial complex has every incentive to encourage war over peace,
the prison industrial complex has every incentive to encourage the creation of new crimes and recidivism over rehabilitation.

Google(corporate corrections of america SB 1070) and see how the prison industry is promoting new crimes, revisions to state constitutions and other actions to further their profits.

Even a cursory search will quickly find scores of corporations whose quest for profits aims to further make America a prison nation.

3:07PM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

No way,, Prisoners should pay for their keep,,

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