Last month a "Research Brief" was published by Randall G. Shelden, M.A, Ph.D, Senior Research Fellow, Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. The Brief is simply titled: "Prison Industry" and was funded by the Fund for Nonviolence and published on the website of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice.
The research put into this brief is in depth and more importantly, contemporary. Dr. Shelden speaks to the problems, statistics, corporate interests and involvement of those profiting from prisons and prisoners NOW - not years ago as many available and outdated government studies currently in use are.
Though I am going to include many of the findings of Dr. Shelden below, this research brief is a must read for all who have followed my writings on the issues involving prison labor, prison privatization and corporate partnerships that result in huge tax expenditures with concurrent profits.
It's not often that one can put many hours into research, discussions and the forming of opinions that often times go without reward, acknowledgement or recognition then be rewarded by other independent studies concurring with your work - referenced or not in the completed study.
In this case everything I have been saying over the past 5+ years about: the Prison Industrial Complex, telephone charges for inmates, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), American Correctional Association (ACA), Correction Corporation of America (CCA), Geo Group and privatization of prisons and prison industry was addressed by Dr. Shelden. He also found connections between organizations such as the ACA, ALEC and private prison corporations such as Geo Group and CCA and notes the connections I previously pointed out between CCA and SB 1070 in Arizona.
He describes the Prison Industrial Complex as:
"The data provided above, along with the quotes at the start of this paper, indicate that incarceration is a huge industry in the United States. About $69 billion is being spent each year on the correctional system (more about this below). What many have called the prison industrial complex represents an interconnection among the prison system, the political system and the economic system - just like the military represents a connection with the political and economic system, what has been called the “iron triangle,” originally mentioned by President Eisenhower when he brought attention to the Military Industrial Complex in 1960.
"This is similar to what Lilly and Knepper (1993) called the "correctional-commercial complex,” which they describe as a sort of “sub-governmental policy-making” (p. 152) system consisting of an alliance between government and private enterprise. Lilly and Knepper noted that this system is quite similar to the “military industrial complex,” since it consists of patterns of interrelationships known variously as “policy networks,” “subgovernment” or the “iron triangle.” They argued that such a system may not be legally a form of government, but nevertheless may exert greater influence than more formal structures of the government. In comparing this system to the military equivalent they note that within the military subgovernment there is an “iron triangle” of the Pentagon, private defense contractors, and various members of Congressional Committees (e.g., armed services committees, defense appropriations committees). They noted further that the decision-making within any given policy arena “rests within a closed circle or elite of government bureaucrats, agency heads, interest groups, and private interests that gain from the allocation of public resources” (Lilly and Knepper, 1993, p. 152). Politics and economics go hand in hand, which is how politicians get elected. Think also of the large number of lobbyists in the nation’s capital (Parenti, 2007; Frank, 2008). Also, consider for a moment about the costs involved in the construction of prisons, jails, courthouses, police departments and furnishing them with everything they need to keep going (construction costs, electrical, furniture, toilet paper, etc.), all of which involve many different private enterprises (Christie, 2000; Shelden and Brown, 2000; Herivel and Wright, 2007).
"A perfect example was the influence of Tom Beasley (head of the Republican Party of Tennessee) in 1983, Doctor Crants (with ties to Sodexho-Marriott) and Don Hutto, who was at the time the president of the American Correctional Association (ACA). In 1983 all of the individuals unified to help Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) enter the market by attempting to take over the entire prison system of Tennessee (Selman and Leighton, 2010, p. 55-56). More about CCA in a later section of this paper."
As I've written over and over the influence of CCA and Geo Group upon incarceration through ALEC is costing us billions of tax dollars and providing less services and recidivism reductions than state run prisons.
ALEC's impact upon both the state statutes enacted that increase the harshness of new and existing laws, and encouraged privatization of government programs, prisons and industries is immeasurable. About ALEC's involvement in all of this he writes:
"A little know[n] fact about the prison industrial complex is an organization known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The mere existence of this organization demonstrates the classic connections between politics, economics and the criminal justice system. The membership consists of state legislators, private corporation executives and criminal justice officials. More than one-third of state lawmakers in the country (2,400) belong and they are mostly Republicans and conservative Democrats. They also get involved in school vouchers (Boston, 2007). It was started in 1973 by Paul Weyrich (who also co-founded the conservative Heritage Foundation and recently was the head of a group called the Free Congress Foundation, a far right conservative group). Their mission is to promote “free markets,” along with small governments, “states’ rights” and, of course, privatization. Corporate membership dues range from $5,000 to $50,000 annually. Corrections Corporation of America is a member of this group, which is not surprising. However, members also include a veritable “who’s who” of the Fortune 500, such as Ameritech, AT&T, Bayer, Bell Atlantic, Bell South, DuPont, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co., Sprint, Pfizer, to name just a few. Among the companies that have supported ALEC through various grants include Ameritech, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and several corporate foundations, including the Proctor and Gamble Fund, Exxon Educational Foundation, Bell Atlantic Foundation, Ford Motor Company Fund, among many others (Capital Research, 2010).
"The web site of ALEC is an educational experience in itself. It proudly lists some of the bills it has been involved in getting passed, plus indicates some very important keynote speakers during the past three annual meetings. Among the notables giving speeches include Attorney General John Ashcroft, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Mel Martinez, President and CEO of American Home Products Robert Essner, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, Hank McKinnell, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Secretary of Labor Elane Chao and ultra conservative syndicated columnist Cal Thomas (ALEC, 2010).
"In addition to a Board of Directors (consisting of several members of various state legislatures, mostly Republicans), they have a Private Enterprise Board. The latter group includes representatives of some of the largest corporations in America, such as Coors, AT&T, UPS, WalMart, ExxonMobil, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer and State Farm, among others. It is interesting to note that the current chairman is Jerry Watson of the American Bail Coalition which, according to their web site, is: “Dedicated to the long term growth and continuation of the surety bail bond industry” (ALEC, 2010).
"This organization also puts together papers and policy statements on a wide variety of issues reflecting conservative ideas, including one about the “myth of global warming.” Bill Berkowitz, who carefully follows conservative trends, has noted that ALEC sponsored more than 3,100 pieces of legislation between 1999 and 2000, with more than 400 of these bills passing (Berkowitz, 2002). Within ALEC there is a “Criminal Justice Task Force.” Among the duties of this group is to write “model bills” on crime and punishment. Among such “model bills” they helped draft include “mandatory minimum sentences,” “Three Strikes” laws, “truth in sentencing” and the like. One member boasted that in 1995 alone they introduced 199 bills, including “truth in sentencing” bills, which passed in 25 states. Tommy Thompson, former Wisconsin Governor and previous head of Health and Human Services in the Bush Administration, was once a member of ALEC. He was recently quoted as saying that “I always loved going to these meetings because I always found new ideas. Then I’d take them back to Wisconsin, disguise them a little bit, and declare that ‘It’s mine’” (Berkowtiz, 2002). Edwin Bender of the National Institute on Money in State Politics, says that: “Bayer Corporation or Bell South or GTE or Merck pharmaceutical company sitting at a table with elected representatives, actually hammering out a piece of legislation – behind closed doors, I mean, this isn’t open to the public. And that then becomes the basis on which representatives are going to their state legislatures and debating issues” (Biewen, 2002). As everyone knows by now, these kinds of laws were a big reason for the swelling of the prison population, which in turn added new “markets” for capitalist profits. As of the fall of 2008 they are sponsoring several dozen pieces of legislation (ALEC, 2010a)."
I've described the PIC as a large market used by corporations to realize more profits off privatization and inmate labor. I've written that I believe the search for more and more profits from our tax dollars contributed to the economic collapses we experienced from 2007 through the present and the continuing huge expenditures for building more and more prisons. Arguments have been made that we need to completely overhaul criminal justice in our country, diverting incarceration funding to diversion and alternative sentencing efforts. Dr. Shelden's research now corroborates those arguments:
"As Robert Heilbroner (1985) notes, within a capitalist society there tends to be an insatiable desire to continue “converting money into commodities and commodities into money” (p. 60). Everything, it seems, is turned into a “commodity” - from the simplest products (e.g., paper and pencil) to human beings (e.g., women's bodies, slaves). Indeed, within a capitalist society “daily life is scanned for possibilities that can be brought within the circuit of accumulation,” since any aspect of society that can produce a profit will be exploited. Life itself has been “commodified” (Heilbroner, 1985, p. 60).
"Part of this drive for profits stems from the ideology of the “free market,” a system of beliefs that under girds the entire capitalist economic system. According to this ideology every individual pursues his or her own personal interests and the result is a collective good for the entire society. It is Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” at work. Corporations are “free” to do whatever they want. The failure of this philosophy became evident in late 2008 and continues to the present date. The current recession illustrates this perfectly. These “free markets” faltered miserably and taxpayers were called upon to “rescue” them. This is nothing less than socialism for the rich and free enterprise for everyone else. A good assessment of the present economic crisis is found in Paul Krugman’s book The Return of Depression Economics (2009) and several of his columns in the New York Times (such as Krugman, 2010).
"This “free market” includes the prison system. The amount of money that flows into the financial resources of the prison system from tax dollars alone is quite substantial. As shown in Figure 1, expenditures for prisons came to about $69 billion in fiscal 2006, an increase of more than 650 percent over 1982 when the figure was about $9 billion. In California, between 1998 and 2009, the prison budget grew from $3.5 billion to $10.3 billion (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 2009).
"Similarly, the budgets for probation and parole have also been increasing. The most recent data available for probation and parole are from the year 2000. While in fiscal year 1992 the average budgets for both probation and parole came to $23 million, in the year 2000 the average was $71 million, an increase of 209 percent. What is most interesting about the budgets for probation and parole is that the largest increases went to the parole system, with their average budgets going from $25.5 million in 1992 to $43.1 million in 2000, compared to a very modest increase for probation budgets from $55.7 million to $56.3 million. The total budgets for both probation and parole came to just over $1.7 billion in fiscal year 2000 (Camp and Camp, 2000)."
Who profits most from the boom in incarceration? There are many, but few as large or as profitable to investors as CCA and Geo Group. They represent the top two (2) private prison corporations in the U.S., and are now working on overseas markets in many other countries.
Not only are they large and raking in our tax dollars, they are using profits out of those dollars to fund lobbying for more convictions, inmates and government contracts to increase their influence and wealth. Other peripheral industries, companies and corporations also benefit from these privatization efforts. Companies like Aramark, Keefe Commissary Network, AT&T, Prison Health Services, and construction companies and sub-contractors - all are making huge incomes from incarceration as a whole, and private prisons especially.
"Prison construction quickly became a booming business. In 1980 there were only 44 prisons; in 2002 there were 102, with 11 more under construction (Johnson, 2003). During the 1990s a total of 371 new prisons opened. (Approximately 92,000 new beds were added each year.) In 1999 alone, 24 new prisons were opened, at a total cost of just over $1 billion. The average cost of building a new prison came to $105 million (about $57,000 per bed). Also, in 1999 a total of 146 prisons were adding or renovating beds at a cost of $470 million (about $30,000 per bed). The total estimated costs of these new building projects come to more than $2.2 billion (Camp and Camp, 2000). These figures may be a bit misleading. A review of the Federal Bureau of Prisons web site finds that as of October, 2008, there were a total of 180 “facilities” plus 14
private “facilities.” These “facilities” include not only prisons but also “camps” and “correctional complexes” (which include more than one “facility”). Regardless of which source is most accurate, the federal prison system is huge and covers both rural and urban areas all over the country.
"The construction of new prisons has become such a big business that there are several web sites devoted to the topic. For example, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) (Government Accountability Office, 2008) issues reports on various prison construction projects. Also, many states publish reports on recent or upcoming construction projects (Oregon, State of, 2010; Firestone and Hansen, 2001). One interesting report comes from web site called Reed Construction Data (2008) which shows ten planned prison construction projects around the country. A Google search also turns up dozens of companies advertising for prison construction. One example, among many, is Kitchell. According to their web site they have built “more than 110,000 detention and corrections beds in place,” and they boast that “Kitchell stands among the most experienced program, project and construction management firms for criminal justice facilities in the country. Those years of experience include more than 130 projects in 17 states, among them are 42 state prisons, 30 adult jails, 30 juvenile facilities, four return-to-custody centers, two California Youth Authority institutions, as well as police stations, courts facilities, camps and other justice-related projects” (Kitchell, 2010).
"Interested readers may want to pick out a few states at random and see how many prisons presently exist and how many have been built in recent years or will be built in the coming years. Take the state of North Carolina for example. On the web site for the North Carolina Department of Corrections (2010) there is a chart showing the prisons recently opened or about to open in that state. Between 1989 and May, 2008 a total of 26 correctional facilities (including two for young offenders, two work farms and a women’s prison) were opened. Currently eight correctional facilities are under construction. As of October 5, 2010 North Carolina had a total of 70 prisons and 40,371 prisoners and an incarceration rate of 368 as of June, 2008 (up from 28,772 and a rate of 345 in 2002), a rate considerably below the national rate of 504. Has there been a significant increase in crime lately? Not at all. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2010) in 2009 the rate of violent crime was 404 and for property crime it was 3,668; in 2005 the rate for violent crime was 468 and for property crime it was 4075."
Most people have become aware of the exorbitant phone rates are for the families of prisoners. Reach out and touch someone has been taken literally by the corporations involve...they are reaching out and not only touching your wallets, they're taking what they want from within. This is an important issue regarding maintaining contact with family and friends. Such ability to communicate with family is critical to successful reentry and thus impact upon recidivism rates - nationwide. Phone companies have negotiated to give a huge percentage of their profits to the prison and jail authorities in exchange for exclusive contracts.
"The old telephone company ad that advised customers to “reach out and touch someone” has new meaning, since long-distance phone companies entered into the prison system in the 1970s. Such industry giants as AT&T, Bell South, Sprint, GTE (formerly General Telephone & Electronics Corporation and MCI have found prisons to be an excellent market for long distance business. Indeed, this makes sense because inmates all over the country spend countless hours on the telephone talking with relatives. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 resulted in greater competition among telephone companies and prices began to decline – except for the prison system, which began to see a big rise in revenue. Prisons all over the country began to get a percentage of the revenues ranging from 10 to 55 percent. A survey by the American Correctional Association in 1995 showed, for instance, that New York was making $15 million per year and California brought in $9 million, with a total of $100 million nationwide. By the year 2000 commission revenues went as high as 60 percent in New York. “At least ten states were taking in $10 million or more from prisoner calling, with California, New York, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons leading the pack with more than $20 million in phone revenues each” (Jackson, 2007, p. 236-240). All of these profits have come as a result of the fact that for a prisoner to call home requires a collect call.
"Part of the revenue comes from the charging of various connection fees, surcharges and perminute charges ranging from as high as 90 cents for local calls and $2.25 for long-distance calls, with in some cases a 15-minute phone call costing $20 or more (Jackson, 2007). At one point MCI installed, for free, pay phones throughout the California prison system. They levied a $3 surcharge for each phone call made, the cost of which is paid for by the prisoner’s relatives. MCI offered the California department of Corrections 32 percent of the profits. AT&T had a cleaver ad that read (in upper case letters): “HOW HE GOT IN IS YOUR BUSINESS. HOW HE GETS OUT IS OURS” (Schlosser, 1998, p. 63). The bulk of the costs to “reach out and touch” a loved one in prison has been borne mostly by low-income and minority people. One writer succinctly summarized the effect of this business:
'(T)he ultimate effect of profit-sharing and what amount to price-gouging arrangements in the prison phone sector has been a long-term trend toward excommunication, making contact between prisoners and family members on the outside more costly and therefore more difficult to maintain. But this goes directly against the findings of several decades of recidivism and community impact studies, some of which were used to justify the introduction of prison calling in the first place. Such studies have found a powerful predictor for reoffense is the failure to maintain family and community contact while under incarceration (Jackson, 2007, p. 241)'."
"It is almost as if those in charge of this system actually want high recidivism rates, as this writer further suggests that “a reliable way of increasing the likelihood that prisoners will reoffend is to break all ties with the outside world and then place them back on the street years later, with little reentry support, in a community to which they have become a stranger” (Jackson, 2007, p. 241).
"This led to a great deal of controversy in California and elsewhere. An investigation by the Los Angeles Times found that phone charges benefited the state of California by about $35 million a year as a result of an agreement with long-distance phone companies. Phone charges to relatives of those locked up in the California Youth Authority resulted in about $85 million in revenue for the state in 2001. After several years of pressure, an agreement reached in January, 2001 that lowered the charges by 25 percent. A three-year contract was signed with WorldCom and Verizon that cut rates for adult prisoners by 25% and for juveniles by 78%. As a result of this agreement, the average 11 minute phone call to a family member outside the immediate area was to be just over $5 dollars.
"Despite a nation-wide movement by such groups as Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE), the Center for Constitutional Rights and others who have filed law suits against this practice, fierce opposition from prison officials and telephone companies, it remains to be seen whether and to what extent these practices will continue. The “prison telephone monopolies remain firmly in place and ineffectively regulated throughout large parts of the country” (Jackson, 2007, p. 248)."
The Brief gave great detail about the privatization of prisons, prison healthcare, food service operations and gives an accurate accounting of the costs to society through tax dollars and expansion of privatization or prisons overseas (with the help of ALEC):
"A recent development in the criminal justice field, related specifically to the prison system, is the trend toward what is known as privatization. This is where a private corporation either takes over the operation of a jail or prison or builds one itself and operates it usually contracting directly with the state). Several years ago researchers warned about the tremendous growth in privatization in general, especially within the private police industry. They quoted one source that called this phenomenon "creeping capitalism" or the transfer of "services and responsibilities that were once monopolized by the state" to "profit-making agencies and organizations" (Spitzer and Scull, 1977). It should be noted that "privatization" is a trend that includes more than the criminal justice system. This “contracting out,” as it is often termed, involves a number of services formerly provided by state and local governments, such as public education, health care, waste collection and many more. There are "at least 18 categories of government services" that saw an increase in private-sector involvement between 1987 and 1995 (Laursen, 1996).
"Private profit is the driving force in the privatization of the correctional system. A report by Equitable Securities in March, 1996 called "Crime Can Pay" included a "strong buy" advice to investors. The report concluded: "We consider the industry very attractive. There is substantial room for continued private-prison growth." The potential for profits did not escaped Wall Street. Back in the early 1990s Ted Goins, of Branch, Cabell and Co., Richmond, Virginia, compiled a list of "theme stocks" for the 1990s. His highest recommendation was for Corrections Corporation of America (Brayson, 1996). A Prudential Securities vice president, who is part of a "prison-financing team," was quoted as saying that "We try to keep a close eye on all the crime bills." Wall Street was indeed eager to back the growth in "crime control stocks" with such companies as Merrill Lynch, Prudential Securities, Smith Barney Shearson and Goldman Sachs among the leaders in support of privatization (Brayson, 1996). One writer noted: "Between 1982 and 1990 California voters approved bonds for prison construction totaling $2.4 billion. After interest is paid to lenders, the total cost will be $4.1 billion. Now the big investors are bullish on private prisons." The firm of Raucher, Pierce and Refsnes of Dallas, Texas were the underwriters and investment bankers for Wackenhut Corrections. In the early 1990s, this company was reportedly doing about $5-7 million worth of business each year, mostly "buying bonds and securities from the private prison companies or the state entities which issue them and reselling them to investors. That securities market is now a 2-3-billion dollar industry, up from nothing eight years ago..." So enthralled about the profits, these securities firms were ready to launch the "next phase" of such development, which was to finance their own construction, with help from securities firms (Thomas, 1994, p. A6).
"Private prison companies have even expanded to foreign countries. As Leighton and Selman note: “As private prison companies expanded, they found partners in the United Kingdom (UK), France, Australia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico and South Africa. At times, like in the UK, companies would spend two to three years lobbying and plying politicians with donations to convince government to privatize” (Leighton and Selman, 2011). Newsweek recently reported that “GEO increased its revenue by $20.2 million in the last year by opening up prisons in Australia and the United Kingdom, while also eyeing contracts in South Africa and New Zealand” (Cook, 2010).
"The largest, and perhaps the most controversial private prison corporation, is Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). Founded in 1983, the company is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee and employs more than 15,000 professionals nationwide. I once obtained a copy of their 1995 annual report, at which time they claimed to be the “leading private sector provider of detention and corrections services to federal, state and local governments." There was also a subsidiary, CCA International, which provided similar "services" in foreign countries. Still another subsidiary was TransCor America, which was touted to be "the nation's largest and most experienced prisoner extradition company." At that time, CCA’s stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange. It operated 46 correctional facilities, including one in England, two in Australia and two in Puerto Rico. This report bragged about its revenues, going from $13 million in 1986 to $207 million in 1995 (an increase of 1492%), while assets increased from $8 million to almost $47 million (an increase of 488%) and stockholders equity had gone from $24 million to $96 million (up 300%).
"One of the most recent examples concerns the connection between Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, the notorious Sheriff of Maricopa County Joe Arpaio and CCA. Over the summer reports started to emerge that revealed that two key advisors for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer had close ties to Corrections Corporation of America. Local CBS affiliate KPOH reported that "two of Brewer’s top advisers have connections" to private prison giant Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). Lawrence Lewis, writing for the Daily Kos, reported that “Paul Senseman, Brewer’s deputy chief of staff, is a former lobbyist for CCA. His wife continues to lobby for the company. Meanwhile Chuck Coughlin, who leads her re-election campaign, chaired her transition into the governorship, and is one of the governor’s policy advisors, is president of HighGround Public Affairs Consultants, which lobbies for CCA” (Lewis, 2010). Lewis also noted that it just so happens that CCA has a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement "to lock up illegal immigrants picked up in Arizona” and obviously sending
millions of dollars into the coffers of this company (Lewis, 2010)."
All of this means profits for CCA and all of the other corporations involved. How profitable is demonstrated by comparing the salaries of the top private prison executives against their state counterparts. When you and I realize the money mentioned is from our tax dollars spent on incarceration, the facts are staggering:
"Donna Selman and Paul Leighton, in their insightful analysis of private prisons, document numerous issues surrounding private prisons (Selman and Leighton, 2010). One of their insights is the amount of money extracted from the states that pay these companies to build and/or operate these prisons. Among other things, they compare the top salary and wage earners in public departments of corrections with those of three major private corporations (CCA, GEO and Cornell). Each of the CEO’s earned in excess of $1 million, while the salaries of the directors of state prisons earned from about $128,000 to $225,000. In most of the prisons run by private corporations there were fewer prisoners and a lower budget than for state prisons. This was for the year 2007 (Selman and Leighton, 2010, p. 136).
"According to Paul Leighton (2010), the Security and Exchange Commission filings that provides, among other things, the annual compensation for key executives with GEO and CCA for 2009. To give just one example, a total of $8.3 million was given to six executives of the GEO group, plus five additional people who received $200,000 or more. The compensation included stock options and other benefits. In short, it has become a rather cozy relationship during which these executives smile all the way to the bank. The average compensation per inmate for the 2007 data they supplied. The Chairman of the Board and CEO of GEO, for instance, earned about $55 per inmate, while his counterpart at CCA earned about $26. The Cornell CEO did even better, earning about $58 per inmate. It should be noted that these were just their salaries and did not include stock options and other benefits. In contrast, the Secretary for the California Department of Corrections earned a mere $1.30 per inmate while the Executive Director for the Texas Department of Corrections earned a mere $1.07 per inmate (California, State of, 2010).
"One of the most detailed analyses of the impact of the privatization of prisons comes from a report by a group known as “Good Jobs First.” In a detailed study of 60 private prisons (constituting half the total privatized prisons in the country), they found that the promised benefits to state and local governments have failed to materialize. More importantly, however, they found that at least 73% of the prison had received a development subsidy from local, state or federal government sources, while over one-third (37%) received low-cost construction via tax-free bonds or other government-issued debt securities, 38% received property tax abatements and another 23% received subsidies for things like water, sewer or utility hook-ups, access roads, etc. The two largest private companies involved in prison building, Corrections Corporation of America and Wackenhut (now GEO Group), were heavily subsidized (78% of CCA prisons and 69% of Wackenhut’s prisons were subsidized). The study could find no evidence of whether or not the privatization of prisons had the desired effects on local communities (Mattera and Khan, 2001). Selman and Leighton provide further documentation of the excessive subsidizing of private prisons. They note that it is important to take into consideration the “overhead costs of participating in the corporate world and relying on Wall Street,” which include the “many fees that go to those who already well-off. Taxpayer money goes to government, which then pays a private prison firm, which then pays fees to an array of large banks, law firms, consultants, lobbyists, and marketing firms” (Selman and Leighton, 2010, p. 158)."
All in all this Report identified all involved with the exception of two of the primary causes of the prison industry problems; PIECP and the NCIA. It does identify the largest corporations involved in manufacturing of products or providing services - but did not address the program allowing the use of inmate labor in the manufacture of those products. Though ACA was talked about by Dr. Shelden, their sitting upon the NCIA Board was not caught or if it was, wasn't included.
I'm hopeful you folks will take the time to fully read the Prison Industry Brief cited from above. It has much more contained within it that I have not included here. Plus all the endnotes are linked to the sources used.