Racial Disparity in Private Prisons
February 17, 2014 8:14 AM   Subscribe

A new study "The Color of Corporate Corrections, Part II: Contractual Exemptions and the Overrepresentation of People of Color in Private Prisons" theorizes an interesting reason that the population of people of color is larger in the private prison system than in the general population. Mother Jones breaks it down in simpler terms.
posted by HuronBob (9 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
The high rate of incarceration among young people of color is partly due to the war on drugs, which introduced strict sentencing policies and mandatory minimums that have disproportionately affected non-white communities for the past 40 years

So prisons will draining shortly, and the US will become like Sweden, where prisons are being closed due to too few prisoners, right?

"The modern private prison industry has its origins in the convict lease system that developed during the Reconstruction Era following the Civil War, as a means of incarcerating freed slaves and leasing them to private companies," [says Alex Friedmann, managing editor of Prison Legal News].

Convict leasing was left out of my high school education on the post-Civil War south, so I learned that today.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:27 AM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Rather than running home to the low-hanging fruit of the war on drugs, could we recognize that there's a more blatant and obvious conflict of interest in the form of contractually-obligatory occupancy quotas? Those are pretty much going to render moot any hypothetical gains from ending the WOD.
posted by lodurr at 9:27 AM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you read further down, you'll notice the graph showing that there is a way larger discrepancy in inmates' age, because private prisons don't want the expense of older prisoners. This is explicitly compared in the article to charter schools accepting only the students they want, thus making public schools responsible for educating the difficult to teach. (Given this, you'd think charter schools would be doing much better than public schools, which they are not.)

Privatization is not much good for the public, is it?
posted by kozad at 9:29 AM on February 17, 2014 [5 favorites]

A perhaps more accessible format is here.

Was having trouble with the "study" link
posted by vapidave at 9:46 AM on February 17, 2014

lodurr, at least in my state (where there is growing backlash towards private prison operators by both the public at large and the Department of Corrections), which has historically been one of the most friendly to private prison operators, the contract language does not require that the state actually incarcerate people in the prisons, only that they pay for a minimum number of inmates regardless of whether or not that number of inmates are housed.

Of course, it's a completely moot point at the moment because our prisons, both public and private, are overflowing to the point that we house many convicts in county jails.
posted by wierdo at 10:13 AM on February 17, 2014

Privatization is not much good for the public, is it?

Isn't that inherent in its name?
posted by ryoshu at 2:50 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

contractually-obligatory occupancy quotas

That's got to be one of the biggest fuck-overs ever put into a contract.
Godsdamn corporate Amerika.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:33 PM on February 17, 2014

The rich get private schools, the poor get private jails. It's not purely a color issue anymore.
posted by Renoroc at 7:11 AM on February 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

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