Federal and state officials increasingly are contracting private companies to run prisons and immigration detention centers, says NPR. Critics question the quality of private prisons and promises of economic benefits. Proponents say they save taxpayers money and generate income for the surrounding community. Karnes County, Ks., expects 140 new jobs and $150,000 in tax revenue from a new 600-bed immigrant detention center built by GEO group. The American Civil Liberties Union criticizes Corrections Corporation of America in a new report on private prisons. CCA called the report “an exceedingly thin, old mix of dated news, willful bias and unfounded opinion. It’s being advanced by a familiar cast of industry critics and is blind to our industry’s many benefits.”
As an industry, private prisons they do very well. They make money, a little for some of the towns where they’re built and a lot for shareholders and investors. “This is an investment that we talk with investors about on a regular basis as a good idea,” says investment analyst Tobey Sommer. Sommer, director of equity research at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey in Tennessee, says both CCA and GEO Group made more than $1 billion each last year.