Why are private prisons thriving under Trump?

(iStock photo)

In late February, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded a policy of President Obama’s that aimed to curtail the use of private facilities by the federal prison system. This repeal will probably have little effect on the growing private prison system. Mr. Obama’s policy did not apply to state prison systems, which include the great majority of private prisons, or to immigrant detention centers. But this repeal sends a clear message: Profit is more important than people.

How many deaths will it take to end for-profit prisons? This was the question posed by the editors of America last year in light of reports that prisoners had died from medical neglect and violence. We wrote, “The problems with for-profit prisons are well documented—a lack of oversight, a commitment to shareholders rather than the public good” (2/29/16).

In spite of these deficiencies, private prison companies have seen their stocks rise by over 100 percent since Election Day, in no small part because of President Trump’s avowed commitment to incarcerate undocumented immigrants who “are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers.’’ This windfall for private prison companies comes at far too high a price.

Advertisement
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

 10.17.2018 Pope Francis greets Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago before a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 16. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
“We take people where they are, walking with them, moving forward,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 20, 2018
Catherine Pakaluk, who currently teaches at the Catholic University of America and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, describes her tweet to Mr. Macron as “spirited” and “playful.”
Emma Winters October 19, 2018
A new proposal from the Department of Homeland Security could make it much more difficult for legal immigrants to get green cards in the United States. But even before its implementation, the proposal has led immigrants to avoid receiving public benefits.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 19, 2018
 Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, then nuncio to the United States, and then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, are seen in a combination photo during the beatification Mass of Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J., Oct. 4, 2014. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
In this third letter Archbishop Viganò no longer insists, as he did so forcefully in his first letter, that the restrictions that he claimed Benedict XVI had imposed on Archbishop McCarrick—one he alleges that Pope Francis later lifted—can be understood as “sanctions.”
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 19, 2018