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The United States today imprisons far more people — both per capita and in absolute terms — than any other nation, including Russia, China and Iran. Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private incarceration company in the world, makes matters worse by operating prisons around the nation that rely on keeping large numbers of people behind bars.
Today, CCA convened its annual shareholder meeting to discuss operations and profits. One thing that won’t be on the agenda, however, is the question of whether private prisons should exist at all. That’s because CCA and other private prison companies prefer to go about their business behind closed doors, shielded from public scrutiny, all the while raking in billions of taxpayer dollars each year and imprisoning nearly 130,000 men and women.
The ACLU believes it is an unconscionable affront to civil liberties and to taxpayers’ wallets to turn incarceration over to private companies that operate in secrecy and admit their business model depends on high rates of incarceration.
That’s why, as director of the ACLU National Prison Project, I’ve challenged the president of CCA to a public debate.
Send a message urging Damon Hininger, President and CEO of CCA, to publicly debate the merits of private for-profit prisons in America. (Do not forward: This link will open a page with your information already filled in. To spread the word, use the icons below.)
Over the past four decades, imprisonment in the U.S. has increased explosively, spurred by criminal laws that impose steep sentences for low-level, non-violent offenses. Those same laws seriously curtail opportunities for probation and parole.
We believe that the taxpayers who finance private prisons, the families of those incarcerated in these facilities, the people who work in them, and the communities where private prisons set up shop deserve a full, fair and public examination of prison privatization.
The role that for-profit companies play in America’s incarceration expansion is a vitally important topic. It’s time to air this issue in an open public debate. Let’s make it happen.
David Fathi, Director
We need to hold the private prison industry and the politicians that are involved in this scam accountable. It is time for Wall Street to quit incarcerating Main Street like cattle just so they can make money off of trafficking us.