Category Archives: Privatization

Privatization: CCA’s No-Bid Family Immigrant Detention Contract Pays Off Whether They House Detainees or Not

A while back I wrote a long piece for Talking Points Memo about the privatization of the criminal justice system. And one thing I learned is that it’s a misnomer to call the two big shots of this industry, Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group, “private prison companies.” Because prisons are not their most lucrative business line; in fact, they only hold around 8 percent of all U.S. prisoners. In recent years, these companies have diversified into a number of associated businesses, from transportation to electronic monitoring to community corrections.

But their biggest growth opportunity – and if you listen to their earnings statement calls they’ll tell you – comes from federal contracts for warehousing migrants. As much as 45 percent of CCA and Geo revenue comes from the federal government now. And while we don’t normally see the terms of these agreements, the Washington Post unearthed one that is breathtaking in how it slathers private operators in taxpayer dollars.

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