Freaky: Private Prison Co. Offers Cash for State Prison, While Racial Disparities Continue

The prison-industrial complex, as we progressives have taken to calling our failed system of justice, is about to get even more industrial.

A "corrections" corporation has sent an aggressive letter offering to buy prisons in exchange for running them. From HuffPo:

As state governments wrestle with massive budget shortfalls, a Wall Street giant is offering a solution: cash in exchange for state property. Prisons, to be exact.
Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest operator of for-profit prisons, has sent letters recently to 48 states offering to buy up their prisons as a remedy for "challenging corrections budgets." In exchange, the company is asking for a 20-year management contract, plus an assurance that the prison would remain at least 90 percent full, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Huffington Post.

The move reflects a significant shift in strategy for the private prison industry, which until now has expanded by building prisons of its own or managing state-controlled prisons. It also represents an unprecedented bid for more control of state prison systems.

The privatization of prisons is a scary trend in a justice system that already suffers from gross injustice.

Also in the news, via News One: "A new study by M. Marit Rehavi of the University of British Columbia and Sonja B. Starr of the University of Michigan Law School shows that Black Americans receive almost 60% long prison sentences than white Americans who committed the same crime."

It's time toseriously reconsider our entire notions of imprisonment and "punishment"--particularly for nonviolent offenders.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at February 14, 2012, 6:50am

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