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What? It's a post about prisons.
What? It’s a post about prisons.

Very big news for people who quite rightly despise the for-profit private prison-industrial complex! Barack Obama’s Justice Department has announced that it will END, like FULLY END, its use of private prisons for federal offenders. A memo signed by Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates states that, though private prisons served a certain purpose when inmate populations were insanely high, that “time has shown that they compare poorly to our own Bureau facilities.” It goes on:

They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security. The rehabilitative services that the Bureau provides, such as educational programs and job training, have proved difficult to replicate and outsource and these services are essential to reducing recidivism and improving public safety.

To say the least! Private prisons are the worst. Like there was this one in Michigan that actually forced inmates to eat GARBAGE. Another time, in Mississippi, it was found that guards were having sex with UNDERAGE PRISONERS. That’s just two little bitty examples, but they’re pretty bad, don’t you think?

The Washington Post notes that the widespread problems in privately run prisons — for one thing, a hell of a lot more assault, involving both inmates and guards, and per the inspector general’s report, “extensive property damage, bodily injury, and the death of a Correctional Officer” in one case in Mississippi — are not some deeply-guarded secret. The WaPo cites an excellent investigative piece by Shane Bauer at Mother Jones that deserves ALL THE PULITZERS, called “My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard” as a contributing cause for the Justice Department’s decision, so Wonkette extends a great big GOOD JOB, BUDDY to our pals over at MoJo, for doing work that’s actually changing public policy.

MoJo editor Clara Jeffery explains why she sent Bauer into a private prison, posing as a guard:

To see what private prisons are really like, Shane Bauer applied for a job with the Corrections Corporation of America. He used his own name and Social Security number, and he noted his employment with the Foundation for National Progress, the publisher of Mother Jones. He did not lie. He spent four months as a guard at a CCA-run Louisiana prison, and then we spent 14 more months reporting and fact-checking.

We took these extraordinary steps because press access to prisons and jails has been vastly curtailed in recent decades, even as inmates have seen their ability to sue prisons—often the only way potential abuses would pop up on the radar of news organizations or advocates—dramatically reduced. There is no other way to know what truly happens inside but to go there.

He certainly did go there, and as Jeffery says, what he found was “revealing as hell.” If you haven’t read the piece, please make some time to do so, it will make you smarter and a better informed human being.

Shane Bauer noted on Twitter that this is happening right now, as a result of this decision:

cca

What a shame.

Deputy A.G. Yates told WaPo that she and her pals have been discussing kicking these nasty, horrible prisons to the curb for a while now, but notes that they won’t go away immediately. Instead, her memo directs that as the contracts come up for the 13 private prisons the federal government uses, they should be set on fire and thrown into the wastebasket of history. She said something more legal-like and professional than that, but you get the gist.

So there you have it. Obama’s Justice Department did yet another Good Thing, Mother Jones helped, and Wonkette awards eleventy-fifteen whore diamonds and a Make America Great Again hat (why not?) to all who contributed to making it happen. Mazel tov, indeed!

[Washington Post / Justice Department memo / Mother Jones]

 

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  • SnarkOff

    Next, let’s get rid of private medical insurance.

    • Relativicus

      AND out of people’s privates.

    • yyyaz

      Pure blood money.

    • deanbooth

      First step is to create a federal Department of Auditing Every Dime Aetna Spends and Every Claim They Deny.

      We cannot tolerate corporations powerful enough to blackmail the government.

  • Lizzietish81

    Much like health care, the idea of for profit prison is just evil.

    Now this is federal prisons, so what does that leave?

  • TJ Barke

    Why does the justice department hate freedom?

  • Monsieur_Grumpe

    Don’t worry 1%ers. We still have payday loan companies.

    • TJ Barke

      Plus all those other ways to bleed us.

      • Celtic_Gnome

        The latest I really like are car title loans.

    • Creepoman

      And it shouldn’t be to hard to repurpose the prisons into workhouses.

    • Zippy W Pinhead

      thanks, DWS

  • Good riddance.

    The for-profit prison model also encourages and lobbies for harsher penalties and stricter laws to keep their cells filled.

    Now if states would follow the Justice Department’s lead.

    EDIT: I mean, thinking about the profit margin, why would a private prison care about recidivism or helping prisoners stay out of prison? They want the bodies and the money that comes with them.

    The entire business model is evil as fuck and shame on the politicians that enabled it to flourish.

    • DainBramage

      “But corporations are people too!”
      So maybe it’s time to throw some in jail…

  • Toadette

    Rats, now where will I sell this grade Z rat meat?

    • Señor Skwerl

      Hi.
      I am the City Manager for Flint!

    • TJ Barke

      I’m sure there’s a McDonald’s somewhere nearby.

    • Relativicus

      Funny-ish story: years ago while a friend of mine was working in the cafeteria at a SUNY school, they were prepping for the Thanksgiving meal they served. The turkeys came in packaging labeled “Grade D, but edible.”

      • Good_Gawd_Yall

        My son’s boarding school got meat like that except on Parents’ Weekends. One of the reasons he only did one year there.

    • Daisy

      My old high school’s cafeteria?

  • arglebargle

    The MoJo piece is extraordinary. Quite lengthy, but well worth the time. It is wonderful to see some good come from it. And major upfists to Shane Bauer for putting himself there. I’m sure it will affect him in some fashion for the rest of his life.

    • Sardonicuss

      It was a great bit of journalism.
      A really good part was in the end, when he left, they were on the verge of promoting him and giving him a raise.
      Then all the people he contacted who said they knew he was probably up to something…because he was always taking notes!

    • SnarkOff

      Glad of the result, but a tiny, cynical part of me says this story only got assigned because the editor watches “Orange is the New Black.”

  • bubbuhh

    Private Prisons: Businesses founded by criminals, employing criminals to take advantage of convicts.

  • OneYieldRegular

    AWESOME.

  • goonemeritus

    Well now I have to go punch my stock broker in the throat.

    • Creepoman

      Bernie Madoff?

  • Señor Skwerl

    But, but, but they provide $7/hour jobs for their guards. Won’t someone think of the wage slaves?

  • Ducksworthy

    I hope someone will correct me if I’m wrong but I believe I remember that CCA was an outgrowth of HCA (Hospital Corporation of America) brought to us by the Frist Family as part of the great (Reagan) wave of privatization. Sounds like CCA has done for corrections what HCA did for health care. Maybe Medicare should learn a lesson from DOJ.

  • Relativicus

    I will never understand how the government contracting out its authority to incarcerate its citizens was ever legal in the first place, and hope that someone is lining up a class action Civil Rights and constitutional challenge on behalf of prisoners at state prisons. Unless the cratering stock values solve the problem by itself. No, scratch that. File anyway.

  • Royal Ugly Dude, Esq.

    I thought the private sector was better at doing all the things.
    Now we’re gonna have to reinvent government all over again.

    • I Only Like Cats

      That sounds like work. Can we just steal Sweden or Norway’s?

      • Parakeetist

        Yes.

        • TJ Barke

          We could, but we won’t!

      • MrCanoehead

        Who to invade next?

    • GoutMachine

      Guess it depends on better for whom…

  • anwisok

    Before I go read that Mother Jones article, I have to ask – will there be cute babby aminals in the comments? Because I’m pretty sure that I’ll need lots of them.

    • arglebargle

      I read it the old fashioned way, with my Mother Jones subscription hard copy. There were no comment kitties, but I did have a cat sleeping nearby while reading so that helped.

  • cousin itt

    Meanwhile, our PUBLIC schools are being privatized and no one is more in favor of this than a bunch of fucking Democrats who think they are all so knowing and so with-it. http://dfer.org/public-charter-schools-are-in-blazing-demand/ And if you ever see the term, “public charter schools,” you are being hoodwinked.

    • I Only Like Cats

      The one I went to “focused on classical education” and I swear to god it was way too much like the Catholic Church (without religious rites, obviously) for my comfort. I have heard of charter schools being good with smaller classes and a go at your own pace, but haven’t seen it work up close. I also went to online school (which was pretty good, but needed to have certain classes/study groups in person so you actually understood) and an alternative high school, which was lovely.

      • cousin itt

        Alternatives are great but I’m talking about the systemic change going on. Curiously though, most of the “reform” is only happening to poor kids.

        • I Only Like Cats

          It’d be nice if the actual alternative schools were given more resources to help their students. They’re a little overwhelmed, especially when you have kids who don’t know how to find the the perimeter of a triangle going into the 10th grade. Charter schools are like reverse Russian roulette.

      • Blank Ron

        The one I went to “focused on classical education”

        So, Latin and Greek in the morning, Rhetoric and Natural Philosophy in the afternoon, followed by a brisk run ’round the playing fields. Top hole!

        • I Only Like Cats

          Close. The History Of Western Civilization (most Eurocentric history class I’ve ever had to be a part of), a current language AND Latin, I think debate was an elective course, and math and science, seemingly as afterthoughts.

          • Blank Ron

            Preparing young minds for the competitive world of the 18th century, I see. Does answer the age old question, where do Liberal Arts majors come from.

          • MrCanoehead

            What about the real classics? Reeling and writhing; ambition, distraction, uglification and derision; drawling, stretching and fainting in coils.

      • Celtic_Gnome

        At a charter school in Ohio, the President of the Board of Directors put all his relatives on the board and paid everyone six-figure salaries. When they stopped paying the teachers, the teachers basically stripped the place bare.

    • PubOption

      The mayor of St. Louis is a Dem. He seemed unable to get the school district to follow his edicts (even with a surrogate planted on the board), and so has become a supporter of Charter Schools and Academies, presumably so that he can influence them one at a time.

  • AngryBlakGuy

    …who would’ve figured that monetizing the housing of prisoners would result in corporations finding the cheapest way humanly possible to do so?!?!

    -Child molestors willing to be paid $4.00 an hour to watch juveniles? Why not, it adds to my bonus!!!

    -Mentally and emotionally unstable guards that will work for minimum benefits? Why not, it adds to my bonus!!!

    -Moldy food provided to prisoners to eat, that has been dug out of the trash cans of the local Little Caesar? Why not, it adds to my bonus!!!

    -Rat and roach infested, dilapidated, unmaintained hell holes that make Abu Grahib look like a 4 star all inclusive Caribbean hotel? Why not, it adds to my bonus!!!

    • cousin itt

      That reminds me and in reference to my recent comment downthread, Denver Public Schools allows another well-known shit-fer-pizza delivery company to supply our kids with their crap pizza every fucking day. Every day. Oh, but the state says no to soda pop in machines.

  • geoffalnutt

    Yeah. I once tried to send a pie through the mail. It didn’t end well. Lemon Meringue doesn’t hold up very well.

    • BosGrl

      Soupy Sales libelz!

  • memzilla

    Oh look, it’s the Invisible Unshackled Hand Of The Free Market at work!
    hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee!
    .

    • yyyaz

      I hope that is only a dead-rat bounce we’re seeing and the nosedive continues.

      • memzilla

        Trading has been halted in GEO Group, another for-profit prison stock. Looks like their investors are handcuffed to their positions!
        .

    • Good_Gawd_Yall

      “The invisible UNSHACKLED hand” – what you did there, my friend – I see it.

    • MrCanoehead

      Still time to short the stock?

  • Callyson

    They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security.

    Top that, “Government can’t do anything right!!!” trolls…

  • GoutMachine

    Thank the FSM. It’s about damn time. Now, for the rest of the contracts … states, counties, whoever. Hope their stock tanks all the way to $0.

  • Maybe this will finally get Red back in the kitchen on OITNB!

    • Ms.MLG1979

      Red is my GIRL!! Tastee is my next favorite.

  • Mpeg

    No snark. Those relegated to time spent in prison get so little of a voice and represent such a woeful opportunity for base minds to abuse, corrupt or take out all kinds of frustration and cruelty on. They’re shut away from society – – for good reason, I’m aware – – but then they’re far from our minds and become an adjacent thrown-away society of unredeemable, contempt-magnets. Even a tremor in the over-bloated prison profit industry now, will hopefully shake up the entire endeavor with much needed scrutiny AND action.

  • Michael Smith

    I can’t wait to see the conservative spin on this: “Obama Closes Prisons; Says Taxpayers Must Pay For Better Accommodations For Criminals”

    • TJ Barke

      Good call.

  • atheistinafoxhole

    I hope Dick Cheney slept late and lost a metric shit-ton of money off his stock portfolio.

    • GunToting[Redacted]

      I’m sure he still has enough lackies to give him an advanced heads-up. Hell, someone check if Dick shorted the stock.

  • SayItWithWookies

    The rehabilitative services that the Bureau provides, such as educational programs and job training, have proved difficult to replicate and outsource and these services are essential to reducing recidivism and improving public safety.

    Hell, they’re probably not difficult so much as they’re not free, and private prisons really weren’t counting on having to do anything else but lock some people up and feed them with little or no oversight so they could do it dirt cheap. Looks like essential humanity shouldn’t be contracted out to the lowest bidder — who knew?

  • limberrat

    I thought private corporations do EVERYTHING right for much cheaper? Thats what corporate fetishists keep telling me.

    • Oily Messiah

      They do everything much cheaper, it just means that sometimes you’re cutting that expensive food with cheap sawdust or replacing antibiotics for surgery with sugar in the wound dressing.

      • Crystalclear12

        One weird trick!

      • Ducksworthy

        My wife keeps buying the cheapest possible toilet paper. I’ve tried to point out the false economy of buying really thin toilet paper and have lately taken to referring to it as CCA surplus paper. I noticed on a recent road trip, however, that this paper is superior to that supplied in rest stops in Republican states.

    • Daisy

      *quietly* You’d be shocked at how many people think prisoners are treated too well as it is. Or maybe not, considering what we see from the RWNJs each day.

      • Oily Messiah

        I’d still probably rather be in a privately run prison that Joe Arapio’s Outdoor Desert Jail

      • Good_Gawd_Yall

        No, we wouldn’t be. The true vindictiveness of the average Xtian Republican is sickening. This is how you get courts sentencing 12-year-olds to life without parole in adult prisons with no public outcry.

        • Daisy

          It’s awful, particularly around here. One thing I haven’t talk about: there is another set of jobs that aren’t related to the ag or oil industries here:being a CO.

    • FauxAntocles

      They are cheaper until you account for the executives’ salaries and perks.

      • TJ Barke

        Externalities are a bitch.

        • Oily Messiah

          Don’t forget short-term profit driven incentives to maximize immediate share holder value

          • TJ Barke

            Synergy!

      • SnarkOff

        Stockholder libel!

        • FauxAntocles

          Who?

  • Sardonicuss

    Now if they could do the same at the state and local level where there is an absolute incentive to detain people to fill contracts made with city and county jails across the country.

  • wide_stance_hubby

    How is this supposed to learn our children that crime doesn’t pay?

    • Blank Ron

      Donald ‘So Sue Me’ Trump is the Republican candidate for President.
      Crime definitely pays.

  • UncleTravelingMatt

    I’ve represented people in Idaho who have injured themselves, attacked jail staff, and in one case escaped from a county jail (only to politely sit on a park bench a few blocks from the jail and wait for the cops) knowing they would get more time (probably in the max unit) just so they didn’t get sent to a private prison known as “Gladiator School.”

    • TJ Barke

      It sounds fancy.

      • UncleTravelingMatt

        The federal lawsuits sure made it sound nice.

        • Oily Messiah

          If there is a private prison known as Gladiator School, I demand to know why the American public has not been treated to grisly colliseumesque death matches on TV

          • UncleTravelingMatt

            I can only assume it’s because the guards were too fucking dumb to operate the cameras.

    • SnarkOff

      On the bright side, I bet if you go to Gladiator School you get RIPPED.

      • Parchment Scroll

        …IN TWO

      • SDGeoff

        Right through the skin and straight to the heart. Quick, easy, effective, cost efficient.

    • UncleTravelingMatt
    • Good_Gawd_Yall

      That is sad, and horrible. It’s too bad so many people are hard-wired to hate people who commit crimes, so that their attitudes aren’t “How awful; let’s reform the system,” but “Criminals committing more crimes, they deserve everything they get.”

  • Redgyal

    Again. I’m going to miss Bamz.

  • AngryBlakGuy

    …my old rant has always been, there are certain industries that should NEVER be “for profit”:

    ▪️Military
    ▪️Healthcare
    ▪️Prisons
    ▪️Education

    Why? Because capitalism is designed to make the most money while spending the least money. It turns human beings into commodities that are only as useful as how much profit they can generate after that, FUCK ‘EM! Over the years the “purpose” of the penal system has turned into a Rethuglicans wet dream: “A way to institutionally fuck over minority’s and dissenters, so they can never be productive members of society”. Our penal system is supposed to REFORM criminals so they become good citizens. I read an article a couple weeks ago about prisons in Sweden(maybe Denmark) where they actually spend money, time and effort to reform and train inmates prior to release and the recidivism rate is damn well near zero. Instead here in America we put maximum effort to turn our inmates into desperate animals, with no other options than to become better at being a criminal to survive

    • SnarkOff

      B-but…that would be SOCIALISM!!!!

    • Good_Gawd_Yall

      Even state-run prisons are horrible, but at least they make an effort to provide education or training and some level of safety, decent food, and human guards. You are so absolutely right about this whole rant that it’s not really a rant – it’s more of a think piece!

      • Oily Messiah

        I don’t know, I’m kinda partial to murderous robot guards myself. Particularly if they’re giant murderous robot guards with death cannons.

        • Zippy W Pinhead

          lasers or GTFO!

          • cousin itt

            The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, so I’ve read.

          • Zippy W Pinhead

            OT, I started reading that Scalzi book that Dok recommended- he really does write a whole lot like Heinlein

          • cousin itt

            I have it on my Kindle now. I’m on page 8.

          • Zippy W Pinhead

            I’m a couple hundred pages in so far

          • Oily Messiah

            The problem with lunar penal colonies is that somehow whatever we send up to the moon ends up coming back as lunar nazi zombies.

          • Zippy W Pinhead

            but it keeps Newt busy, so there is that

          • Oily Messiah

            Can we just send Newt to the moon?

          • redarmyzombie

            Oily, listen to yourself! Do we *really* want Nazi Zombie Gingrich coming back down to haunt us?

          • Cindyinencinitas

            Will he come in a van full of Swiss cheese?

      • Cindyinencinitas

        The thing about state-run prisons is there is some modicum of oversight. Who the fuck knows what happens in the for-profit ones? They don’t have to answer to the governor or the AG.

      • PubOption

        Angola Prison in Louisiana, known for its record solitary confinement terms, is state run, so there are exceptions.

    • cousin itt

      Let’s not even call them industries. I think of them more like social maintenance organizations to which we all bear responsibility for their care.

      • AngryBlakGuy

        …correct! And more!!! Our country has been flirting with fascism for the past 25 years due to Republicans insatiable thirst for power. Now you hear these dumb bag of clown farts trying to talk their own constituency down from the Trump “ledge”. Well your voters didn’t become rabid squirrel fuckers on their own! It was your decades long plan to get them this way. Now reap the whirlwind ASSHOLES

      • malsperanza

        Infrastructure. Or, to use the simplest term: society.

    • DainBramage

      Capitalism is fine for making things like cell phones and fudge. Horrible at providing basic infrastructure and protecting rights.
      We are citizens of our country, not customers.

      • AngryBlakGuy

        …I would LOVE to be treated like a customer!!! Instead today’s capitalism treats us like beggars that refuse to take the crumbs that the aristocracy brushes onto the floor for us to eat:

        HEALTHCARE: “oh, your spouse is dying of stage 4 cancer? Well fuck you and have a nice day!!!”

        EDUCATION: “oh, you are unsatisfied with education we are providing your child? Well there is a cheaper school down the street for ‘mongoloids’ that I can recommend!”

        PRISONS: “who the fuck cares? They are animals right??? Amirite!!!!”

        • DainBramage

          I agree that ‘customer’ is not the right word. ‘Serf’ is better term a lot of the time.

          • AngryBlakGuy

            …that was the EXACT word I was looking for!!!

    • malsperanza

      Add:
      -Utilities
      -Parks
      -Public Transport

      • AngryBlakGuy

        …yes, yes and YES!!!

    • ColumbusLib

      Michael Moore’s latest movie, Where to Invade Next, is an excellent and entertaining source for better ways to handle these exact four areas, as shown by various European countries. Highly recommended!

  • Good_Gawd_Yall

    THIS, Donald J. Trumpf, is how you make America great. By caring for the least of us, instead of the pockets of the richest of us. Take note, you walking dumpster fire.

  • loser_sneeze

    Can’t imagine that something for profit would skimp on services, safety, cleanliness, etc. just to make a buck. YOU’RE TALKING CRAZY. (Also, it’s about fucking time they stopped this. States need to follow suit. Looking at you GEORGIA)

    • DoILookAmused2u ?

      It’s not like prisoners can post yelp reviews.

      • Oily Messiah

        Sounds like a niche app market that prisoners can use on their contraband cell phones! We’ll call it HELP!

        Prisoners can post review’s called Cries.

        • Cindyinencinitas

          Okay that was just horrible. You monster.

      • Zippy W Pinhead

        Angie’s list

      • loser_sneeze

        The way some Yelp reviewers write about their experiences you would think they’re prisoners, forced to endure such hardship.

  • Parchment Scroll

    What the hell is this soft-hearted bullshit? What’s next, attempting to actually reform prisoners instead of revenging at them for the duration of their sentence?

    • Oily Messiah

      Yea, if we keep following this path or prison’s might become decent places to live and rebuild your life like in Germany or Scandanavia.

    • Longstreet63

      Yeah! In my day, we used to make them push a boulder uphill, and when it got to the top, it would roll back down.
      Or sometimes, their liver would be pecked out every day…
      I may be misremembering this…

      • Oily Messiah

        I follow the Dante Allegheri’s Inferno theory of punishment.

        • malsperanza

          Purgatory for the criminals.
          Hell for the people who make money off them.

      • Parchment Scroll

        “And I used to help him,” said the demon, its voice raw with sullen indignation. “Give you a bit of a hand, sometimes, didn’t I? Pass on a bit of gossip and that. Sort of encourage him when it rolled back and that. I’d say things like `whoops, there goes the bleeder again,` and he’d say `Bugger it`. We had some times, dint we? Great times.” It blew its nose.

        — Terry Pratchett, Faust (eric)

      • Dudleydidwrong

        You’re just a big Sissy so stop making a Fuss about it.

        • Skadi

          ISWYDT

  • I see a real estate opportunity for the FEMA Camp Properties Corporation.

  • yyyaz

    This is a good start, but only that. Let me know when we get to give National Airport its name back.

  • Aquaria

    Texas was another state where the private prisons were raping underage inmates, that slimeball Rick Perry knew about it, and looked the other way because the private prisons were such lucrative donors to his campaigns:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040402400.html

    • Parchment Scroll

      I had forgotten why I developed this weird gag reflex whenever I heard the name “Rick Perry”. Hughrhgh.

      FUN FACT: The makers of Leverage often had to rein in the overt nastiness of their villain-of-the-week characters because the real-life inspirations for them were considered unbelievable, cartoonish, and over-the-top.

    • Oily Messiah

      Don’t forget other D-bag for profit prison lover, Florida Man Rick Scott

    • Major_Major_Major

      Unpossible, he is too SMRT with those glasses to ever do something like that.

    • Good_Gawd_Yall

      Rick Perry? Rick Perry did something horrible? I am shocked, shocked, I tell you! Shocked!

      • hendenburg2

        Your winnings, sir

    • Shibusa

      See also: Marco Rubio. He is the US Senate’s top career recipient of bribes campaign contributions from GEO Group.

    • Astraea

      “If you cover for another motherfucker who’s a kiddie fucker
      Fuck you, you’re no better than the motherfucking rapist”

      • Good_Gawd_Yall

        I love that song. The first time I heard it I almost swallowed my tongue in shock, though.

        • Astraea

          It effectively conveys the only decent response to this kind of shit, I think.

    • NellCote71

      Perry–probably jealous.

  • Hairstrike Alpha

    I’m sure once the checks clear the GOP will be appropriately outraged about Obama’s assault on freedom and his love of waste, fraud and abuse.

  • SuspectedDemocrat

    Well my prison stocks are shot, I didn’t expect that to be a bad investment. I just hope I can recoup my losses. Is there a foreign war of choice index fund I can put my money in?

    • Oily Messiah

      It’s called the Cheney Index (Ticker Symbol: EVL)

      • NellCote71

        Interwebs winner!

    • Zippy W Pinhead

      I hear Syria is trending!

    • mardam422

      Wait for the Trump Administration. Then the fund goes thru the fucking roof!!

    • Bitter Scribe

      Why, WHY didn’t I short CXW?

    • Cindyinencinitas

      What??? You don’t have your money in GOLD?????

    • Reddishrabbit

      I’m a big believe in Hookers and Coke Ltd, very linked to arms contracts.

  • tehbaddr

    But what will we do with all the blahs now that there is no profit motive for incarceration?

    • Parchment Scroll

      Maybe, and I’m just spitballing here, we can get the government to pay people to… um… how about teaching? Like, we could get them to go to some kind of college or university?

      • Good_Gawd_Yall

        The other day when we had that story about public defenders, I had a thought that we could let people work off their student loans from law school by putting in five years as PDs. I think what we really need in this country is not less government, but more; government that directs those in need of jobs or debt relief to programs that serve others. Work off student debt, get free child care in return for volunteer work, stuff like that. But then, I’m a bleeding heart libtard who wants unicorns and rainbows and butterflies for everyone and has no grasp on the gritty, violent reality that the conservatives think we live in.

        • Parchment Scroll

          Clearly, you are the real Fascism. Hitlerbama.

          • Good_Gawd_Yall

            [Preens]
            Hitlerbama. I like it!

          • Parchment Scroll

            Thank you, I try. :D

        • Oily Messiah

          Law students can already work off debt by working in any non-profit/public-sector job or in a low-service area like East. Ky. We have to make payments on the IBR-scale for up to 10 years, and the rest is forgiven

          • Good_Gawd_Yall

            We need a similar system for everyone. It’s just not right that people in their fifties are still struggling to pay off debt they incurred when they were 20, nor that it’s not possible to get an education in this country for free.

          • Astraea

            Trump and Republicans in general claim to be good for entrepreneurs and small businesses, but nothing encourages sticking with secure corporate jobs like huge amounts of debt.

          • Oily Messiah

            I’m in the process of working down law school debt right now. I work for a non-profit and make a middle class income. I still end up paying almost 1/4 of my paycheck to pay loans.

          • Cindyinencinitas

            Try going to Harvard Medical School. My ex brother-in-law is never going to pay that off.

        • Logic of Color

          Sorta OT but I’ve always thought something similar could be done for Med school grads: have the work off their loans doing residencies or just working in, like, county hospitals, prisons, military, w’ev. Hell, there may already be something like this in place.

          • Markuserektus

            If I recall correctly, Mexico does it. They’ll pay for med school in return for two years service.

          • malsperanza

            There are such programs, at least at some medical schools.

        • Markuserektus

          Ok FDR :P

  • UncleTravelingMatt

    If CCA is driven out of business the world will be a far better place.

    • Parchment Scroll

      It’s a sad state of affairs when I look at a story like this (which, taken another way, reads “US Dept. of Justice FINALLY Going to Stop Paying Corporations to Torture People”) and think “it’s a goddamn miracle!”

      • yyyaz

        I take it as a sign that a mitigating treatment has been found for the evil, and apparently incurable disease known as reaganitis. Now, if we can just find a vaccine we may be able to spare future generations.

        • Parchment Scroll

          Defeating Drumpf in a landslide is bound to be a part of that. It absolutely must be a landslide to be effective, though.

  • Oneofthebobs

    Nice! Civil forfeiture, you’re up next.

  • Brian

    Another liberal job killing program. thanks, Obama!

    • Hardly Ideal

      Some jobs deserve nothing short of a drone strike. Private prisons are just dungeons with nicer flooring.

  • Cindyinencinitas

    While I am filled with joy right now because the prison-industrial complex is in my top 3 issues, I am worried about where all the Blackwater alumni who were employed in these places are going to scurry to.

    • Oily Messiah

      Wherever violent sociopaths are in demand?

      • hendenburg2

        Trump rallies?

    • AnOuthouse

      They don’t pay enough to retain anybody with Blackwater level training. Their poor employee retention is one of their main problems. Apparently no one wants to work in a potentially dangerous job for minimum wage and shitty hours.

      • Cindyinencinitas

        Go figure.

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        Ex-coal miners ought to fit right in.

  • Bitter Scribe

    There are certain things that should never be privatized. Making a profit off caring for prisoners is just obscene.

    • Iam Reading

      Also, too, medicine, education, and military/military support functions (including intelligence).

  • elviouslyqueer

    Oh great. One less option for the #LockHerUp folks to put Hillary.

    • Blank Ron

      ‘Obama did this because he knew his friend #crookedhillary was going to be sent to prison ANY DAY NOW!’ in 3… 2… 1…

  • Oily Messiah

    Now if only Hillary and her PAC’s would stop taking money from these assholes.

    • malsperanza

      When they are out of business it will be harder for them to donate. Think of it that way.

  • Panika MCD

    it’s going to be interesting to see what the DOJ shifts to because the next part of this conversation is about where to move existing inmates as prisons close. sure, consolidation makes it easier on the taxpayers, but an important part of reintegration to reduce recidivism is the ability for the inmates to interface with those who will be in their support network once they are out of prison. I’m still happy with this news, but cautiously optimistic.

    • Oily Messiah

      Ship them all to guantamano!

      • Cindyinencinitas

        Norway, where they treat their prisoners right.

    • Good_Gawd_Yall

      “What do you mean, when they’re out of prison? We let people out of prison?” -all RWNJs, everywhere.

    • Berkeleybear94

      A lot of them are already being shipped all over the country in the Federal system. While you are absolutely correct about the power of network to re-integration, there have never been all that many Federal facilities to begin with. Which is a reason to think about whether we need Federal minimum or medium security facilities at all, rather than expanding Federal agreements with states to house inmates locally (but that of course doesn’t address all the issues with state prisons like overcrowding) but I don’t think shift will be more disruptive than the existing system.

      Also I’m not sure how many facilities this will close. At least some of the contracts are for management of facilities built by and owned by the government – I’d assume in those cases it would be a matter of moving in Federal employees and management (which would also mean a boost in the local economy from higher wages).

      • Panika MCD

        we’ll see. I’m guessing that the federal-state contracts will be done a bit better on the financial end than we managed to do with our state-county contracts down here in TX.

  • Good_Gawd_Yall

    When I, Donald J. Trump, become president, all prisons will be privatized, and all of my brownshirts loyal supporters will have jobs and benefits and a place to work out their aggressive tendencies on weaker people we’ll make America great again!

  • Beaumarchais?

    For those who say there is no difference between the two parties, this proves them wrong. Prison privatization was a republican idea.

    • Jen_Baker_VA

      Everything privatization is a Republican Idea.

    • Vegan and Tiara

      Weird that prison privatization coincided with Reagan’s “war on drugs.” If I was a cynical sort of person, I might think those two things were related.

  • DoILookAmused2u ?

    Trip Advisor Review.

    Holliday Correctional Facillity, Texas.

    *

    I rated this one star because Trip advisor would not let me rate it zero stars. Staff are abusive and often worse than the guests who are also often horrible.

    Rooms are cramped and you have one sink/drinking fountain/toilet that is all the same unit.

    Staff deals drugs, and that’s ironic because my reservation here was booked by a judge for possessing less than 1 gram of marijuana.

    The whole place stinks. I mean, it smells really bad. And the food is terrible.

    • bobbert

      And such small portions.

  • Logic of Color

    But what about the “invisible hand”? If prisoners don’t like their private prison can’t they just go to one that provides better service?

    • h4rr4r

      Trump’s hands are very small, we all know that, but to call them invisible is just mean.

    • Vegan and Tiara

      Most prisoners think it feels more like an invisible fist.

  • Scooby

    Yea, now that we fixed it so Hillarys not going.

  • anwisok

    Evan does not lie. The MoJo article is both very long and very good.

    • Logic of Color

      Hey we should send Evan undercover somewhere like dress him up like a high school kid or a roadie or something. I’d read the shit out of that story.

      • anwisok

        Ummmmm . . . sending a gay guy undercover to a high school might be taken the wrong way by some people.

        • Jen_Baker_VA

          This is true. Therefore, we should send him undercover to a Repulican Campaign. I hear they are all fine with the ghey now! So long as it is on the Dlo.

      • Vegan and Tiara

        Pray away the gay camp might be fun!

    • Markuserektus

      But, alas it cost $350K.

  • AngryKatie

    Imagine that. If an entity’s driving interest is profit, they make choices that advance that cause at the expense of everything else.

    A prison should never be a profit center. Neither should a hospital or insurance carrier. No enterprise whose existence is focused on health, safety, or well being should have profit be their guiding principal.

    • Hardly Ideal

      I used to say that if you wanted to find a real Death Panel, just find the headquarters for Anthem Blue Cross (pre-Obamacare, at least).

      • AngryKatie

        That’s why the whole death panel nonsense was so laughable. Anyone who’s had to fight with their insurance company for needed treatment, or had their coverage cancelled because they got really sick, knew they already existed.

        • Matchstick

          If *you* think the concept was laughable imagine how funny it was to us Brits, esp any (like me) whose life had been saved by that “evil” NHS

          • AngryKatie

            I have a friend that moved to Scotland mid-pregnancy because her husband got a job there. So she had ~5 months of prenatal care with Blue Cross, and 5 months with the NIH. The difference blew her mind, and she’s now the most vehemently supportive cheerleader the NIH could ask for.

    • malsperanza

      Or a school.

  • Reddishrabbit

    So, does this mean that I’m not going to get a contract to run the FEMA camps?
    Thanks Obama!

  • Latverian Diplomat

    Hey look. Another thing for Trump to undo on that busy, busy first day in office that we all hope never comes.

  • Oily Messiah

    Stop being so humorous and snarky. I can’t concentrate on the serious article

  • Iam Reading

    Finally. CCA makes Voldemort look like the Dalai Lama. Now POTUS Barry Bamz needs to pardon all the non violent weed offenders in the federal system.

    • malsperanza

      And all the people who are serving unevenly long sentences due to being black. I’m sort of hoping he will announce a release list of eleventy jillion federal prisoners on Nov. 9.

  • Jen_Baker_VA

    This is so wonderful and thank you Mother Jones!
    Question though: what about state facilities? The article lists the feds, but don’t some states also employ the profit prisons?

    • bobbert

      AOT,J

    • Berkeleybear94

      Yes they do. CCA and its competitors do everything from “managing” existing facilities (basically a way for states to try and minimize exposure for employee related expenses) to running their own that states ship inmates to (and where they typically engage in for profit work for the companies like running call centers). The BOP has no jurisdiction over state prisons but without sweet Federal cash and the legitimacy it conveys it will be harder for CCA to get business and attract investors. The DOJ also has agreements to house prisoners in state facilities (like the wildlife refuge defendants – their pre-trial confinement is in county jail) where they pay the states – the DOJ could work in a line item insisting those aren’t private I suppose.

    • malsperanza

      State prisons are going to be harder. But if we get a good SCOTUS, we will start seeing lawsuits about level of care and provision of services, and that could eventually get rid of the whole for-profit industry.

  • Boscoe

    Holy crap, this news is awesome! Maybe better than kittehs, even!

    • JesusWasAHippie

      Ain’t nothin better than kittehs. But this does come close.

  • jmhm

    Thank god. Maybe once the cash flow for lobbyists dries up we’ll stop spending Ivy League tuition money on putting kids in jail.

  • dshwa

    Good.

  • Courser

    This is, in the memorable words of OHJ Biden, “a big fucking deal.”

    This is one of the GOP’s favorite oxen that just got gored BIGLY! The Rethugs be squealing in… 3. 2, 1…

  • malsperanza
  • Occam’s 8 ball

    It was top fun writing this post, amirite Evan? Just to get this off my chest, you are a man of character, intelligence, insight, compassion, wit, and in total command of your native language and it’s various idiosyncrasies. And, I am a fan.

    • idiotboy

      Ditto.

  • Biel_ze_Bubba

    CCA need not worry too much. Louisiana is not going to let a perfectly good jail, already built in their state, go to waste.

  • Biel_ze_Bubba

    Obama is soft on crime! Trump will build more, yoooge prisons, to make us safe!
    (And here come the Willie Horton ads.)

  • BrayingAssSez

    Best gist I’ve gotten all week!

  • Last Hussar

    Please pass this idea onto the UK – We’ve seen staff terms and conditions plummet, along with staffing levels, all to ‘compete’. Unfortunately our privates still have years on the contracts. Plus they keep tendering non-operational bits off, so now trying to get Contracted out depts to do anything ‘not in the contract’ is a nightmare.

  • nightmoth

    This is what REAL JOURNALISM can do, kiddies. Good for MoJo and WaPo, and as always, good for Wonkette for headlining it.

  • I seriously think we have OITNB to thank for this. Yes, really.

    • DT

      This is like when weeds went to Mexico and all of a sudden mexican drug cartels and guns were in the news.

      Jenji Kohan knows things….

  • Silver_Witch

    We should donate to MJ so they can keep doing great work….I am sending $5 a month so they can keep saving AMERICA

  • theblackdog

    This is great news from the Fed level. Now if we can just convince states to do the same thing…

    • Suttree

      States like Louisiana who left prisoners to die during Katrina. And still have a “rodeo” at Angola.

      • badphairy

        Which is one of THE most dangerous things I’ve ever seen footage of. The injured get lovely Louisiana prison medical treatment which is maybe your cellie will kiss your boo-boo to help make it better.

    • STATES’ RIGHTS! GUBMINT OVERREACH!

  • Suttree

    Private prisons are an anethema to a just society. I agree that some people should be punished by having their freedoms taken away for a set portion of time. That time should not be a sentence of abuse by guards and/or other prisoners. We also needs to reform all state run prisons. I have a completely anecdotal story that I shall share. I worked with a guy (in a different line of work) that was a guard at Riker’s. He relished in telling me stories of abusing inmates. He was granted a full pension in his early 30’s because a prisoner crushed his hand in a door (this is the story, I have no faith in the veracity of it). While I was working with him he came to like me and would tell me shitty stories about his life. Like when he was a kid and set a bum on fire in NYC. By all accounts, if you just met the guy, he seemed like an intelligent and rather nice person, but he was pure fucking evil inside. Yeah it’s anecdotal, but the mindset of becoming a correctional officer becomes deep seated control issues. From everything that I have seen and read they are the fuck ups that were to stupid and mean to become cops. And that says a lot!

    • Sakonyachen

      I have met the opposite type in my life. Genuinely nice people who have mostly good stories about their interactions with the prisoners. They have some horror stories, but they generally involve having to take an otherwise model prisoner to solitary because a pissing match got out of hand at lunch. Handling a furious man that is half the size of a silverback gorilla can’t be a pretty situation. Most likely worse when surrounded by other prisoners who are hyped up from watching a fight.

      Of course, they never talk much about what made them leave. It would be irresponsible not to speculate that they leave because of assholes like the guy you spoke of.

  • Suttree

    As a society we should all feel a collective sense of fucking shame for this.

  • Jerry Noneofyourbizz

    When I saw “MoJo” I thought it was referring to Watchmojo.com from YouTube. Top ten lists are NOT journalism. Yet. I guess when you can cite Twitter as a source it’s pretty much over.

  • Allen Jordan

    Good. Private prisons are a cancer upon justice. One thing not mentioned here was the Pennsylvania judge selling children into private prisons. Not everything in public life, in fact, NOTHING in public life requires a profit motive.

    • Mehmeisterjr

      Make that two Pennsylvania judges from Luzerne County, then-President Judge Mark Ciavarella and then-Senior Judge Michael Conahan. Did they also indulge in tax evasion? You betcha, they did:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kids_for_cash_scandal

  • Paperless Tiger

    Another failure of the privatization craze. How did they ever sell us the idea that cutting a private corporation in on public funding was going to save money? Mainly they just divert funding away from wages and services right into their corporate pockets, Duh!

  • chortlingdingo

    I feel like every time privatization comes into play, you find people who are cutting corners and committing horrible human abuses for the sake of profit.

  • Celtic_Gnome

    A poster up on the union bulletin board at a state agency read, “Privatization works for profit; state employees work for the people.”

  • Zyxomma

    I’m SO happy about this. Just finished watching season three of Orange is the New Black, where a private corporation takes over Litchfield.

  • nick kelly

    Watch them morph into treatment centers- ones you can’t check out of.
    ‘Your honor, instead of incarceration in a jail. my client will enter an approved custodial treatment program’
    Could be even more lucrative

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