Prison Inc.: The Secret Industry [Infographic]

Of the 314 million people who live in the United States, 2.3 million of them are currently living behind bars. The prison industry is growing at an alarming rate, especially in the private sector. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of privately operated prisons in the US has increased 1600%. Prison is a big business these days; Corrections Corporation of America and The GEO Group, two of the biggest private prison companies, made 3.3 billion dollars in revenue in 2012. Between the both of them, they maintain 162 prisons in the United States and make up 75% of the private prison industry.

But where are they getting all that money from? Inmates cost the federal government 55 billion dollars every year. Programs like lock-up quotas are contracts that guarantee that prison occupancy rates will stay at or above certain levels, many times that level is 90%. If those occupancy rates are not fulfilled, the government pays for the empty beds. Cheap labor is another way that the prison industry generates its revenue. Prisons contract prison labor to private companies like McDonald’s, Starbucks, and even Victoria’s Secret.

Prison is a tough place to be, but as a big money industry, it pays to keep those beds filled. Take a look at this infographic for more on the prison industry and let us know what you think about it in the comments. Don’t forget to like and share.

Private Prison Industry

Comments: 4

  • Jorge says:

    This is a pretty thought provoking article but somewhat incomplete. It would be useful if it mentions the correlation to drop/increase in crime.

    • Ed Hafner says:

      I have been a police Lt. For 30 years. Believe me there is no reduction in crimes committed upon society when you lock up individuals. There is always someone to take their place. It is similar to the debate on marijunna legalization. Organized crime and law enforcement are allies. Both interests want and lobby for stricter penalties because the it translates into more law enforcement personnel and a higher price for the illegal substance. Remember prohibition….how we’ll did that work.

  • Brian Wallace says:

    Appreciate the feedback, Jorge! Will give that some thought.

  • Brian Wallace says:

    Thanks for your feedback, Ed!

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