FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Bright Side of Deportation: Private Prison Stocks are Soaring!

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.

— Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

It turns out that the immigration cracksown that Trump’s ICE is pursuing, though hard on illegals and their families by producing terrible uncertainty for them, is not without its bright side.  The light that provides a bright side is shining on the shares of stock in the Geo Group and CoreCivic, and on jails in a number of Texas counties.

Geo Group and CoreCivic operate private, for-profit prisons.  Before DJT became president, they were on hard times.  For good reason.  In August 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General issued a report that was highly critical of the way those companies treated prisoners entrusted with their care.  The report found that inmates in facilities run by those corporations “were nine times more likely to be placed on lockdown than inmates at other federal prisons and were frequently subjected to arbitrary solitary confinement simply because there was not space for them among the general population.”

Although placing them in solitary confinement so they would not add to overcrowding in the general prison population had the desired effect, solitary confinement is generally acknowledged to be equivalent to torture and has been repeatedly criticized for its excessive use in United States prisons.

According to the report, the Bureau of Prisons was using the private prisons on a large scale to “confine federal inmates who are primarily low security, criminal alien adult males with 90 months or less remaining to serve on their sentences.” The report stated that “in a majority of the categories we examined, contract prisons incurred more safety and security incidents per capita than comparable Bureau of Prisons institutions.”  It said that the contract prisons “do not provide comparable services [to those operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons] do not save substantially on costs, and do not maintain ‘the same level of safety and security.’”

At almost the same time that that report was issued, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, issued instructions to federal officials to reduce the use of private prisons because of the falling prison population throughout the country. The result was that stock in CoreCivic and GEO, the two largest private prison companies in the United States, fell precipitously. The election of DJT reversed their fortunes.

The day after the election shares in CoreCivic rose 43 percent and share in GEO rose 21 percent.  The investors’ optimism was rewarded when on February 21, 2017, Attorney General Sessions, rescinded the order that the private prisons be phased out.  Following the announcement, the prison companies enjoyed another jump in share prices.

The order should not have been a surprise.  Notwithstanding the Justice Department report that was highly critical of the private prisons, DJT, for whom facts are notoriously unimportant, said: “I do think we can do a lot of privatizations and private prisons.  It seems to work a lot better.”  Of course, private prisons are not the only ones rejoicing in the prospect of more inmates, thanks to the increased attention being paid to illegal immigrants and their incarceration.  Jailers in small Texas counties are also excited.

Because of reforms to the criminal justice system, a number of Texas counties are having a tough time making ends meet because their jails are underperforming.  An underperforming jail is one located in a community in which the residents do not engage in sufficient criminal activity to provide residents for the local jails.

According to a report by the Associated Press, the current problem traces its beginning to the 1990s and the early 2000s.  Counties that were losing employment prospects for their citizens, addressed the problem by building new jails with lots of beds.  The plan was that, in addition to housing their residents, the jails could be rented out to other counties and the federal government when those entities found themselves short of space.

It was a great idea and worked until criminal justice reform took place and alternative sentencing provisions were adopted.  Now many of the counties that eagerly built new jails, find themselves trying to pay off the cost of construction without adequate occupants to pay the debt that was incurred to build them.

The good news for them is that since DJT has encouraged ICE to round up and jail illegal immigrants, the glut of jail space may soon vanish and cells that were empty and non-income producing, will once again be fully occupied with illegal immigrants and their families.  (In a speech delivered to Police Chiefs Association on April 11, 2017, Attorney General Sessions announced a number of increased enforcement policies including a provision that those who get married to avoid immigration laws, will be charged with offenses that carry a two-year mandatory minimum prison sentence.)

If, notwithstanding the prospect of new occupants, counties no longer want to maintain their facilities, they may be able to sell them to private prison companies that will use the space for housing illegal immigrants.

It’s a win-win situation for private prisons and Texas counties.  The only loser is the pre-Trump United States we knew and loved.

More articles by:

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail