Bodies in Beds: Why Business Should Stay out of Prisons

Bodies in Beds: Why Business Should Stay out of Prisons

Bodies in Beds: Why Business Should Stay out of Prisons

Bodies in Beds: Why Business Should Stay out of Prisons

Synopsis

Can privatization really help solve America's prison problems? A mental health professional tells a compelling story of suicidal inmates and mistreated inmates, with staff working overtime without compensation while frustration grows.

Excerpt

Bodies in Beds exposes the realities behind the rhetoric of prison privatization, and provides an inside look at what happens when a prison is run by a private corporation that cares more about profit than the people in its correctional facilities—both offenders and employees.

The author examines understaffing and other endemic problems in privately operated prisons, where the corporate goal tal goals of ensuring humane conditions of confinement and rehabilitating prisoners—the vast majority of whom will one day return to our communities.

While this book may have resulted from the author’s objections to CCA’s business model, and moral conflicts regarding her employment with a company that puts profits over people, it is a greater reflection on CCA’s own moral failings. Unfortunately some people need to be locked up to ensure public safety; that’s the reality. Though they do not need to be held in prisons run by businesses that answer not to the public but to corporate shills and shareholders. That is also a reality that public officials need to acknowledge.

As with most companies, private prison firms have a need for constant expansion—which means more bodies in more beds. Ironically, crime does in fact pay if you’re a cca executive or shareholder.

Ours is a nation of mass incarceration, and what the author saw at the CCArun Bent County Correctional Facility in Colorado is replicated in thousands of other prisons and jails across the United States, both public and private. While she has correctly identified the profit motive as one of the great evils in our criminal justice system—an evil that serves as the core business model for companies like CCA—the larger underlying issue of mass incarceration also must be addressed if we are to achieve any meaningful change.

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