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In late February, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded a policy of President Obama’s that aimed to curtail the use of private facilities by the federal prison system.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

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Image: iStock, (CNS photo/Jim Lo Scalzo, EPA) Composite: America
What ought to be the Ignatian contribution to the fight for racial justice, given our mission and our values?
Bryan N. MassingaleNovember 20, 2017
“To love the poor means to combat all forms of poverty, spiritual and material."
Gerard O’ConnellNovember 19, 2017
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago speaks Nov. 13 during the fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
Cardinal Bernardin’s consistent ethic of life could be helpful as the church grapples with issues like migration, health care and even taxes, some bishops say.
Michael J. O’LoughlinNovember 17, 2017
Giant machines dig for brown coal at the open-cast mining Garzweiler in front of a power plant near the city of Grevenbroich in western Germany in April 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)
“What we need to do is just continue to live out the challenge of ‘Laudato Si’,’ which is to examine our relationship with the earth, with God and with each other to see how we can become better stewards of this gift of the earth.”
Kevin ClarkeNovember 17, 2017