CNBC broadcast a special “Billions Behind Bars,” which the network billed as an investigation into the multibillion dollar prison business in the United States. There will be a rebroadcast starting at 8 p.m. Friday EDT. As described by the network, “We go inside private prisons and examine an Idaho facility nicknamed the “gladiator school” by inmates and former prison employees for its level of violence. We look at one of the fastest growing sectors of the industry, immigration detention, and tell the story of what happens when a hard hit town in Montana accepts an enticing sales pitch from private prison developers. In Colorado, we profile a little-known but profitable workforce behind bars, and discover that products created by prison labor have seeped into our everyday lives — even some of the food we eat. We also meet a tough-talking judge in the law-and-order state of Texas who's actually trying to keep felons out of prison and save taxpayer money, through an innovative and apparently successful program.”
CNBC says that the prison system in the U.S. employs more than three-quarters of a million workers, more than the auto manufacturing industry. Many small towns are said to be trying to get in on the boom. The special includes a “reform” segment profiling Texas’s Community Corrections Continuum of Care Court, which the program says saves money by keeping people out of jail.