Private prisons are Wall Street darlings despite their spotty record, reports Politico. Over five years, the stock price of Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) has increased by more than 200 percent, and this month Jim Cramer's investment website The Street praised the company’s strength on Wall Street, enthusiastically rating its stock a “buy.” GEO Group, the second largest private-prison operator, last week reported $1.52 billion in revenue for 2013, its most ever and more than a hundredfold increase since the company went public ten years ago.
As inmate populations have soared, private prisons have emerged as an appealing solution to cash-starved states. Nearly a tenth of all U.S. prisoners are housed in private prisons, as are almost two-thirds of immigrants in detention centers—and the companies that run them have cashed in. Yet Idaho recently cancelled its contract with CCA. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the company in 2010, alleging that violence had become an “epidemic” in the facility, and the Associated Press released a video showing a prisoner beaten unconscious while correctional officers stood around watching. At CCA-run Adams County Correctional Facility in Natchez, Ms., last June, 20 prisoners were indicted in connection with a riot that left one woman dead and dozens injured.