“The two largest for-profit prison companies in the United States – GEO and Corrections Corporation of America – and their associates have funneled more than $10 million to candidates since 1989 and have spent nearly $25 million on lobbying efforts… They now rake in a combined $3.3 billion in annual revenue and the private federal prison population more than doubled between 2000 and 2010.” —The Washington Post, April 28, 2015
There are 130 private prisons in the U.S. with a total of 157,000 beds. America’s status as world’s number one jailer is good for profit margins. The Corrections Corporation of America, the biggest owner of private prisons has had a 500 percent revenue jump over the last 20 years. The other big owner, GEO Group, practically owns Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who was running the Florida legislature when they received a big contract from the state of Florida.
Today Hillary Clinton’s campaign has decided to stop taking donations from PACS and lobbyists connected to the private prison industry. The campaign won’t reveal how much money Clinton has received from the private prison industry and their associates. A story in The Intercept in July, as well as other sources, puts the amount over $300,000.
Clinton’s campaign released a statement saying that, as President, she would, “end private prisons and private immigrant detention centers… the campaign will not accept contributions from federally registered lobbyists or PACs for private prison companies, and will donate any previous direct contributions to charity.”
In a statement to investors, Geo Group, states their prison profits could be, “adversely affected by changes in existing criminal or immigration laws, crime rates in jurisdictions in which we operate, the relaxation of criminal or immigration enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction, sentencing or deportation practices, and the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by criminal laws or the loosening of immigration laws.”
“It’s time for the presidential candidates who still accept private prison money to follow suit and commit to a future where no one is imprisoned for profit,” said Matt Nelson, Presente.org’s Managing Director in a statement.
Other details on the justice policy views of Clinton are unknown. She has been declaring broad brush support for changes in justice reform but specific views and a justice platform is said to be coming this fall. Whether Clinton is for or against civil asset forfeiture, equalizing the sentencing penalty for crack and powder cocaine, police militarization, the death penalty (she has been for it), changes in criminal intent laws, ban-the-box, mandatory minimums and record expungement is unknown.
But her views on private prisons are now clearly stated.