Sept. 14, 2004 – Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison firm in the country, said severe overcrowding in the United States federal prison system is likely to help fatten the bottom line of corporate prison operators. Federal prisons are running at more than 130 percent of capacity, the company told investors. The majority of people incarcerated are male and between the ages of 18 and 24. With the overall population of this demographic increasing, the company assumes more people will be thrown into prison, also helping business.
"Successfully exploiting these opportunities should result in strong earnings and cash flow growth," CCA bragged to investors, according to the Associated Press.
The company said the Bush administration's post-9/11 immigration policy of mass roundups and increased police presence in urban areas over the last four years has led to higher incarceration rates. That, combined with the historic trend of increased incarceration, will likely promote increased use of private prisons in the US. CCA also noted that the national turn toward private prisons has been greatly helped by the Bush administration, which has reduced the construction of prisons in favor of contracting private companies and local governments.
Ken Kopczynski, who works with the Private Corrections Institute Inc., a group that opposes private prisons, told the AP, "These people are making money off the hope we keep locking people up and there's more crime, which is a sorry state of affairs to say something like that."
Since 1975, the lockup rate has climbed to 400 out of every 100,000 citizens, compared with 100 out of 100,000 in the 50 years prior.