Corporate Prison Demands More Inmates or It’s Shutting Down

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Most Americans understand that Republicans live to serve corporate profits no matter the cost to the people; whether that cost is money or a broken social structure. While Republicans were celebrating their Putin-assisted victory last November, no-one in the country was more thrilled than the private school and for-profit private prison industry. There were reports that the wealthy people who profit off of harsh sentencing laws and mistreating prisoners were congratulating each other and counting the prospective taxpayer dollars flowing to their coffers with the tyrannical fascist’s victory; they were promised a Herculean Republican effort to reinstate harsh prison sentences to fill private prisons and keep their wealthy investors happy.

Now, the nation’s second-largest private prison corporation is pressing the issue and demanding that the state of New Mexico and the federal government start supplying more profits (prisoners) within 60 days or they are closing up shop and taking their jobs with them. The corporation CoreCivic, formerly “Corrections Corporation of America,” is attempting to extort more money out of taxpayers and holding New Mexico politicians “hostage” if they or the federal authorities fail to supply 300 new prisoners; what the corporation claims is a “difficult decision.”

A spokesman for CoreCivic, Jonathan Burns, said that while “The city of Estancia and the surrounding community have been a great partner to CoreCivic for the last 27 years… a declining detainee population in general has forced us to make difficult decisions in order to maximize utilization of our resources.” Of course Burns didn’t tell  the truth and say the corporation needs more detainees to “maximize our profits” courtesy of taxpayers and harsh Republican sentencing laws.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported: “The company that has operated a private prison in Estancia for nearly three decades has announced it will close the Torrance County Detention Facility and lay off more than 200 employees unless it can find 300 state or federal inmates to fill empty beds within the next 60 days.”

According to Torrence County manager Belinda Garland: “This is a big issue for us. The company told the county it has been holding fewer federal detainees for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, so we’re reaching out to anybody that can help us… We hate to see this facility close.’”

The newspaper also reported that county officials issued a statement citing the threat of closure from the corporate prison and emphasized that they had marshaled “virtually every politician in the region, from county officials to state officials to congressmen” to run out and find (create) at least 300 money-making inmates to boost profits for private investors. What the “politicians” should have done is tell the money-making corporation to sod off and invest in renewable and green energy to create jobs. But that would be good for the community and certainly wouldn’t sate the corporation’s lust for more profit.

This particular corporate prison is, at best, a “sketchy” operation. CoreCivic has faced many lawsuits for committing crimes such as “sexual harassment, sexual assault, deaths, use of force, physical assaults, inadequate medical care, injuries and civil rights violations.” Now they can add extortion to that long list of crimes.

The county officials’ statement noted that most of the 700-bed facility’s prisoners were federal inmates so it was really out of the county and state officials’ hands, but that had no impact on the corporation. They want more money (inmates) and they don’t care how they are provided or where they come from; even if they have to be “created.”

In fact, the corporation has been complaining bitterly to local officials about not having enough profits (inmates) due to federal sentencing reforms they claim has led to “a shrinking prisoner population” and declining investor profits. According to CoreCivics 2016 corporate annual report, its profits had “fallen slightly” in the final years of the Obama Administration; likely in conjunction with the steadily falling crime rates across the nation.

Local county leaders have made enlisting local politicians and officials to go out and “find some new prisoners” their raison d’être and sought assistance from everyone including New Mexico Democrats, U.S. Senator Tom Udall and Representative Michelle Lujan-Grisham. The county said the town of Estancia would lose $700,000 annually in commerce and the county would lose $300,000 in tax revenues if the corporation followed through on its extortion threat and closed the private prison in late September.

This abomination is a prime example of exactly what’s atrocious about making prisons, and prisoners, into a “money making” corporate enterprise. The lack of economic opportunities for corporations and their investors when crime goes down should not be a factor in how politicians deal with extortion threats or how they run the criminal justice system.

Obviously jobs are important, but these kinds of corporate threats should not influence even one politician to push law enforcement “into the dirty business of ignoring the horrid social implications of creating more arrests and convictions” just so private corporations and shareholders can reap higher profits.

Americans have already witnessed corrupt judges and prosecutors “creating” inmates at the behest of profit-seeking corporate prisons. And, it is doubtless that the Sessions-run Department of Justice’s threat to pursue medical marijuana users and states that decriminalized the common weed is an important part of Republicans’ practice of creating profits (inmates) for the corporate prison industry.

However, it is now apparent that Sessions is not acting fast enough for the nation’s second-largest prison corporation. Apparently they are so greedy for profits that besides being guilty of sexual harassment, sexual assault, deaths, use of force, physical assaults, insufficient medical care, injuries and civil rights violations, they are resorting to extortion to force New Mexico and the federal government to provide more profits (inmates) – likely whether they are guilty or not.

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