Why Don’t You Stay Awhile? The Private Prison Business and Trump’s Presidency

Your banks, like Wells Fargo and Bank of America, are invested in the business of keeping inmates behind bars.

*This is a re-post from a piece I wrote back in October, but this is a better forum to host my opinion. It’s also provided time for supporting evidence to emerge regarding the argument that private prisons are loving 45’s time in office.*

According to this NBC News article in October, shares in the two largest private prison stocks jumped sharply the morning after Donald J. Trump was elected president. The Corrections Corporation of America surged by 60 percent before falling back to a 34 percent jump and GEO Group Inc. was up by 18 percent. As Ben Popken stated in this piece for NBC News, “Trump is supposed to be good for business and one of those businesses is the prison business.”

Under Obama, we saw the Department of Justice move towards discontinuing the use of private contractors to run federal prisons, but a Trump presidency likely indicates a reversal of this progressive policy.

Trump’s pro-deportation rhetoric gives way to a high potential for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to become more aggressive with arrests across the country. Consequently, this also increases the need more for more real estate to house illegal immigrants before being forced to leave the country. This is great news for companies like Corrections Corp. and the GEO Group, who are tied up in the business of keeping prison cells full. (see image below)

As we’ve seen, and as identified by the United States Bureau of Prisons, immigrant-only prisons have been found to be exhibiting “full scale medical neglect,” likely leading to premature deaths of inmates with cancer, AIDS, mental illness, and liver or heart problems. If you need proof, read this article. So essentially, we’re going to up the ante on filling on our privately-run prisons, make a quick buck, and leave them to die? Yeah, pretty much.

Private prisons have housed close to 23,000 non-citizens convicted of federal crimes. I’m just as much of an advocate for arresting federal criminals as you are, but take a minute to understand who would profit from importing hundreds of thousands illegal (but probably hard-working, God-fearing individuals) into privately-operated prisons: banks, mutual fund management companies and private equity firms – as well as public employee retirement systems. Need proof of that, as well? Follow this link.

Your banks, like Wells Fargo and Bank of America, are invested in the business of keeping inmates behind bars.

2013_09_PrivatePrisons

All of this, in tandem with the likelihood that a Trump presidency will do next to nothing to curb recidivism (rate of re-arrest)/minimum prison sentences, is bad news. American corporations should not be in the business of making profits from incarceration, especially since some of those who influence policy are advocates of harsher punishments and/or are failing to alleviate consequences for things like minor/first-time drug offenses.

Our correctional system should be aimed toward repairing the lives of its inmates to once again become productive citizens of society.

There is little to no effort on the federal level (that I’m aware of) to re-integrate former prisoners into society. We are investing minimal capital into the education and training of people who will be expected to find their footing upon being released–in a sociopolitical environment that’s looking to cut welfare programs.

Considering who typically occupies our prisons, knowing that there are “quotas” for those which are privately operated, and seeing hardly any spending on human capital for successful assimilation upon release, it’s clear that systemic and institutionalized barriers are real.

Don’t kid yourself.