Yep, the CCA (Corrections Corp of America) is waving a bunch of cash in front of 48 cash-strapped states. The deal — states turn over prison ownership and guarantee the prisons stay 90% full.
In other words, "we own the store and you guarantee the inventory."
Chris Kirkham at Huffington Post has the story:
As state governments wrestle with massive budget shortfalls, a Wall Street giant is offering a solution: cash in exchange for state property. Prisons, to be exact.Starve states of money, then offer to buy everything they own. What do you call it when you're the only one in the world with cash? Mission accomplished, baby.
Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest operator of for-profit prisons, has sent letters recently to 48 states offering to buy up their prisons as a remedy for "challenging corrections budgets." In exchange, the company is asking for a 20-year management contract, plus an assurance that the prison would remain at least 90 percent full, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Huffington Post.
The move reflects a significant shift in strategy for the private prison industry, which until now has expanded by building prisons of its own or managing state-controlled prisons. It also represents an unprecedented bid for more control of state prison systems.
And CCA certainly has cash. Revenues have soared "more than fivefold since the mid-1990s" — aided, natch, by the war on brown people that conveniently arrived just in time for the fall of the Soviet Union. War on Drugs, War on Immigrants, War on (dusky) Terrorists — it's all good. One man's War is another man's Inventory, right?
The article goes into much of what's wrong with these deals, including the fact that if states no longer own the warehouse (prison, in this case), it becomes harder to change the management contractor (the private prison corp and its network of subcontractors). Plus the fact that promised cost savings often don't materialize. Etc.
And while the article doesn't mention it, I wonder if some of the outsourcing is on the backs of those Republican-leaning prison worker unions. Something to check into, if you're feeling Jimmy Olsen-ish these days. (Feel free to tweet me links, or add them to the comments — I always read them. Thanks!)
I'll leave you with what I wrote above, since I think it's the core dynamic, the one-two punch of low taxes and looting:
Starve states of money, then offer to buy everything they own. What do you call it when you're the only one in the world with cash? Mission accomplished, baby.But hey, rubes, look — low taxes.