A Florida land deal provides some insight into how the private prison industry is operating. The city of Southwest Ranches, Fl., agreed to allow construction of a private 1,500-bed prison or detention center in exchange for up to $1.5 million per year, the Miami Herald reports. The company that will own it and run it, Corrections Corporation of America, says it has not lined up a government agency that needs the beds. Town administrator John Canada says he is confident one will be found within six months.
Officials from two federal agencies told the Herald they have no interest in the facility. Florida’s practice has been to choose a site for a prison, then invite companies to compete to build and operate it, not the other way around. “We are talking to Immigration and also to the U.S. Marshals,” Canada said. “There’s a lot of interest. It looks very promising.” A spokeswoman with the federal immigration agency isn’t interested. A Marshals Service spokesman said the agency knows of the project but doesn’t need it at the moment. CCA is the nation’s largest operator of private prisons. It operates 64 correctional facilities, including 39 that the company also owns.