High cost of private prisons
So Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is concerned about the long term cost for Medicaid expansion. That’s rich!
Let us look at the cost to the taxpayer for private prisons. In 2016 the Federal Bureau of Prison said it would phase out private prisons in light of findings that the facilities aren’t as safe and effective as government-operated prisons. Private prisons have been found to hold people longer than state-run facilities with additional cost of $3,000 per prisoner. Through campaign contributions and lobbying, the private prison industry has quietly supported laws that place more people in prison and subject them to harsher sentences — changes that offer no rehabilitation value and increase the burden on the taxpayer. Private prisons not only fail to save taxpayer money, they impede efforts to reduce mass incarceration and decrease costs to states in the future. With 65 to 70 % of prison operating costs going toward staff salaries, benefits, and overtime, private prison corporations first look to these expenditures to cut cost. Correctional officers in private facilities made $7,000 less per year than those who are public employees.
A study of Minnesota prisoners released between 2007 and 2009 found that people incarcerated in private prisons were13% more likely to be arrested again.
The Alabama prison system is the most overcrowded in the nation and conditions are so egregious that the U.S. Dept. of Justice is investigating.
Private prisons oppose accountability and transparency; in my opinion, Gov. Ivey is shirking her responsibility. Lack of accountability shields for-profit prisons from scrutiny while, as a U.S. Accountability Office report put it, “Key decision makers, including the Bureau of Prisons managers, OMB and Congress, aren’t positioned to have the information needed to make the most cost-effective decisions,” which means that Gov. Ivey will not answer to the taxpayers who pay her salary.
Three banks are involved in the line of credit and term loan facilities for private prisons are Bank of America, SunTrust, and JP Morgan Chase (as of 2019, JP Morgan Chase dropped out). Also, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been on the receiving end of public scrutiny for its controversial holdings in America’s two largest private prison companies — the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group (GEO).