A prison cell in Alcatraz. Credit: Dave Nakayama / Flickr Creative Commons
In the past forty years,. And a private prison industry has grown along with it. When the war on drugs started swelling our prisons back in the 1980s, a couple of entrepreneurs saw an opportunity. Since then, local and federal governments have incorporated private prisons into their criminal justice systems.
Lauren-Brooke Eisen -- and Marc Mauer - and author of - say that we should view this trend more skeptically.
- Two of the largest private prison companies - CoreCivic and the GEO Group - are publicly traded. Last year, they raked in about 4 billion dollars in revenue. “That’s more than Airbnb, Snapchat, Pandora, and the Dallas Cowboys combined,” says Eisen.
- Are private prisons cheaper than government-run prisons? Well, the numbers aren’t promising. “There’s no significant difference [in price],” says Mauer. “Sometimes they’re a little cheaper, sometimes they’re a little more expensive. It’s more or less the same.”
- Over fifty percent of civil detention centers are run by private prisons, and the number is growing. “A lot of people are concerned that the footprint of private contractors will grow in terms of operating and building more of these facilities,” Eisen explains.
- Looking for an insider’s view?
- When probation becomes profitable, .
- An Atlantic feature from 1998 about .