Thursday, August 6, 2009

They're taking all our money

CCA reported its quarterly earnings today. They earned $32.6 million in net income over the past quarter (3 months, or about 90 days). That comes down to more than 322 THOUSAND dollars EVERY DAY that they made in profit, from taxpayer dollars. What is even worse is that "conservative" economic policies and politicians are the biggest proponents of private prisons, while they complain about taxing people who earn more than $250,000 per year to improve health coverage. I guess it makes sense, though, since so many of them invest in private prisons, like Mr. Cheney and Gonzalez.


  1. How do they make profit off of taxpayers?

  2. The majority of the industry's income comes from contracts with the federal government and state governments. Those contracts are funded with taxpayer dollars, as part of the corrections budgets. CCA alone earns somewhere in the area of $140 million per year in profit; the GEO Group earns less, but still tens of millions of dollars per year in profit.

    But it's not just the fact that taxpayer dollars are literally being handed over as profit to an industry performing what I and many others consider to be a fundamental government function. The real problem is actually pretty logical - prisons, when run by state and federal governments, aren't run for a profit. They are run pretty much as cheaply as the government is capable of doing. Politicians don't throw excess budget funds at prisons to improve conditions.

    So how do you make a profit from operations that normally have no profit margin? You cut corners. Everywhere. Staff - numbers, training, and (unfortunately too often) quality of individuals. Medical care; mental health care; food; blankets, clothes, sheets and supplies; security. These are fundamental functions of prisons, each crucial, and each, when run by a government, done about as cheaply as possible in keeping within the limits of the Constitution.

    So you see the cuts reflected, obviously, in the operations of the prisons, which is pretty much what this blog is about.