The United States imprisons more individuals than any other country in the world, both per capital and in absolute terms. The term "prison industrial complex" has been coined to refer to relationship between the rapid expansion of the U.S. inmate population and the political influence of private prison companies and businesses that supply goods and services to government prison agencies. Last week, the ACLU published the first comprehensive report on the privitization of the prison industry in its publication, "Banking on Bondage, Private Prisons and Mass Incarceration." The report points to some alarming statistics and trends that are facilitating the ever expanding industrialization of the prison industry:
"As incarceration rates skyrocket, the private prison industry expands at exponential rates, holding ever more people in its prisons and jails, and generating massive profits. Private prisons for adults were virtually non-existent until the early 1980s, but the number of prisoners in private prisons increased by approximately 1600% between 1990 and 2009. Today, for-profit companies are responsible for approximately 6% of state prisoners, 16% of federal prisoners, and, according to one report, nearly half of all immigrants detained by the federal government. In 2010, the two largest private prison companies alone received nearly $3 billion dollars in revenue, and their top executives, according to one source, each received annual compensation packages worth well over $3 million."
To read more, check out the ACLU publication by clicking here.