Just wanted to give a quick update on the newest craze sweeping the private prison industry, CCA’s diabolical scheme to connive state governments into selling prisons to the company and guaranteeing 90% occupancy of said prisons for decades to come. Basically, they’re looking to ensure the US remains the world’s embarrassing outlier in its unnecessarily high rate of incarceration. The proposal has been quickly and loudly criticized by dozens of groups, including advocacy groups and a coalition of religious organizations.
Beyond the mere idiocy of guaranteeing a private prison company income despite prison population shifts for the next twenty years, people are starting to question the source of the proposal; former director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Harley Lappin. Shortly after leaving his post in the federal government, Mr. Lappin took his highly lucrative job in the private sector in one of many examples of the “revolving door” that characterizes the industry and its success at cultivating political relationships. The proposal from CCA actually encourages the sale of federal prison facilities, which Mr. Lappin himself was in charge of just a few short months ago. But that’s not all; in his capacity as director of the BOP, Mr. Lappin authored a report highly critical of the very private prison industry in which he is now employed.
Thankfully, it’s looking like the work of the groups who were quick to oppose CCA’s proposal is paying off. Many states have already decided to reject it; at least five states, including those with the highest correctional populations, many of which have existing contracts with private prison companies, have said they aren’t even considering it. I guess their current relationships with the industry have dissuaded them from wanting to further entangle themselves with a company that profits off human misery. Who woulda thunk? Of course, some governments were bound to take the bait; Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal recently announced his plans to sell a state prison to the highest bidder, which is, in the words of a state representative, “an unlawful dereliction of state duty.”
I’m sure this won’t be the last of what we hear from states as they consider the proposal. But hopefully this will be the last bad news.