For a minute there, it looked like California's prisons were on the verge of positive reforms. But the current situation in the state's massive prison system -- one of the largest in the world -- is far from encouraging. It's been a kaleidoscope of bad news lately.
|Private prison company annual report (credit Huff Post)|
|Another snippet from the Correctional Corp of America|
|Private prisons benefit from immigration crackdowns|
Finally, and perhaps most disturbingly, on Monday a massive private prison corporation announced that state Governor Jerry Brown had signed a deal to ship 1,400 prisoners to its private facilities. The GEO Group, formerly the infamous Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, is a Florida-based corporation that manages 96 facilities with about 73,000 beds worldwide, including in the USA, Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
|Click on image to visit Huffington Post infographic and related resources|
The Post, one of the few media outlets to regularly cover this disturbing trend, has published an infographic illustrating the widespread nature of these contracts, which discourage criminal justice reform by "leaving taxpayers footing the bill for lower crime rates." As part of its coverage, the Post took a peak at annual shareholder reports of the Corrections Corp. of America that reveal its "aggressive business strategy based on building prison beds, or buying them off the government, and contracting them to government authorities." (The drop quotes in the post are just a few of the nuggets they unearthed.)
"Profits, after lining the pockets of shareholders, are used to create more beds and to lobby state and federal agencies to deliver inmates to fill them," the Post reports. "The resulting facilities can be violent and disgusting."
As one example, the Post reported on the horrendous conditions that quickly developed after the Corrections Corp. of America bought a formerly public prison in Ohio. Educational programming for prisoners and salaries of staff were slashed, violence and drug use skyrocketed, and correctional officers jumped ship en masse, leaving newcomers to run the facility. Prisoners in isolation were left to wallow in their own filth, with no access to running water or toilets.