Categories:  'Criminal Justice & Incarceration Society'  

Some Businesses Thrive on the Success of a Captive Prison Market

It’s no secret that the United States had a massive incarceration boom in the past half-century. What you may find more surprising are that companies [...]

It’s no secret that the United States had a massive incarceration boom in the past half-century. What you may find more surprising are that companies are taking advantage of poor people in this captive market to make a profit. The prison phone industry is operated by companies that earn an estimated $1.2 billion per year. No surprise, considering that short phone calls can cost up to fifteen dollars due to the monopolies by companies. Now, some prisons are removing in-person visitation in lieu of “video visitation” that can cost more than thirty dollars for forty minutes of screen time, not even considering the unethical and inhumane side of that situation.

The government should not collude with private companies to make poor people lose money. The total cost to government of incarceration is $70 billion a year, but at the same time remains a fabulous source of profit to a few private companies. In 2009 alone, while most industries were in a slump, the prison industry brought in $34.4 billion in revenues. Finding accurate financial information on many of these companies is nearly impossible because they’re almost all privately held. We need to examine what this industry costs to the public and who’s really benefiting from it.

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Articles

Publication Date: 04/05/2015
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Author: Joyce Chediac
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