Gov’t Slaves InfoAt a time when states are struggling to reduce bloated prison populations and tight budgets, a private prison management company is offering to buy prisons in exchange forvarious considerations, including a controversial guarantee that the governments maintain a 90%occupancy rate for at least 20 years.
Federal Bureau of Prisons director Harley Lappin speaks during a news conference at the Thomson Correctional Center in Thomson, Ill., in 2009.
The $250 million proposal, circulated by the Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America to prison officials in 48 states, has been blasted by some state officials who suggest such a program could pressure criminal justice officials to seek harsher sentences to maintain the contractually required occupancy rates.
“You don’t want a prison system operating with the goal of maximizing profits,” says Texas state Sen. John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat and advocate for reducing prison populations through less costly diversion programs. “The only thing worse is that this seeks to take advantage of some states’ troubled financial position.”