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Slicing and Dicing the Prison Commissary Business

The Prison Policy Initiative, a non-profit advocacy group, recently released a study examining how state prison commissaries operate. One observation made in the report: commissaries often exploit incarcerated persons, by shifting the costs of incarceration from the state to inmates and their families. The central problem, according to the report, isn’t the prices commissaries charge,

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Private Prison Populations Grew Five Times Faster than Prisons Overall

The Sentencing Project, a non-profit advocacy group, recently released a short study on privately-owned prisons in the U.S.  One of the most striking facts documented by the study, Capitalizing on Mass Incarceration: U.S. Growth in Private Prisons, was that in the first sixteen years of this century, the number of inmates held by private prison

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BOP Orders Staff Cuts of Nearly 14 Percent

In twin developments as the Trump administration developed its new budget proposal, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) told federal prison officials to prepare for across-the-board reductions in authorized staffing levels of nearly 12 percent, and ordered them to identify inmates now in federally-run facilities who could be transferred to privately-run prisons. Staffing Levels On

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DOJ Inspector General Outlines Challenges for Federal Prisons

As has been done annually since 1998, in October, the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general released a list of what he sees as the leading management and performance challenges confronting the agency in the year ahead. One of the eight areas identified by Inspector General Michael Horowitz was summarized as “Managing an Overcrowded Federal

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Private Prison Firms Spend Billions Buying Other Companies

By Christopher Zoukis A fact sheet compiled by In the Public Interest (ITPI), a public policy research organization, indicates that Corrections Corporation of America – CCA, now known as CoreCivic – and the GEO Group, the two largest private prison firms in the nation, have spent a combined $2.2 billion since 2005 acquiring other, smaller

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BOP Is Now Looking for More Space in Private Prisons

  Only a little less than a year ago, the second-ranking official in the Department of Justice was declaring that the federal government planned to reduce and eventually eliminate the housing of federal inmates in privately owned prisons. Last August, the DOJ unveiled an Inspector General’s report purporting to show privately run prison facilities are

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States Wrestle with Prison Privatization

By Christopher Zoukis In 2016, questions were raised in at least three states about the amount of taxpayer money flowing into the coffers of private, for-profit prison companies. Take Colorado, for example. When lawmakers were considering an almost $26 billion state budget last year, they noticed it included a curious last-minute addition: $3 million for

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Bonds Used to Finance Private Prisons, Jails Turn into Junk

  The promise of safe, humane and less costly prisons has been used for decades by the private prison industry to sell its products. As prison populations skyrocketed, local, state and federal governments became convinced that financing and building more and more correctional facilities was the way to go. So did investors, who picked up

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