Mass incarceration in the United States has turned into a business model, and powerful corporations are cashing in big. Private prisons are raking in billions of dollars each year and using their profits to continue rigging the game in their favor.1
The private prison industry has spent tens of millions lobbying Congress for stricter laws, harsher sentencing guidelines, and more government contracts.2 And here’s the thing: it’s working.
Between 2000 and 2010, the number of inmates held in private prisons more than doubled.3
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Worse still, most of those trapped in the prison-industrial complex are people of color.4 African-Americans alone account for 37% of federal prison inmates despite comprising less than 14% of the American population.5
That’s why Senator Bernie Sanders, Rep. Raul Grijalva, and Rep. Keith Ellison introduced the Justice is Not for Sale Act, which would ban federal contracts with private prisons entirely.
There is no question about it: the American criminal justice system is broken. But until we remove the blatant conflict of interest of for-profit prisons, meaningful reform is nearly impossible.
But if we take action together, we can purge corporate interests from our criminal justice system.
Add your name and become a citizen co-sponsor of the Justice is Not for Sale Act today.
1. Michael Cohen, "How for-profit prisons have become the biggest lobby no one is talking about," The Washington Post, April 28,2015
2. Aviva Shen, "Private Prisons Spend $45 Million On Lobbying, Rake In $5.1 Billion For Immigrant Detention Alone," Think Progress, August 3,2012
3. "Gaming the system," Justice Policy Institute, June, 2011