First Photograph: Keith Calhoun, Angola Penitentiary, Who's That Man On That Horse I Don't Know His Name But They Call Him Boss, 1981
Second Photograph: Chandra McCormick, Field Work, Angola State Prison, 2004
Slavery: The Prison Industrial Complex
From the bail bond industry and healthcare providers to companies that sell our government surveillance and monitoring tools, private corporations are involved in nearly every aspect of our criminal justice and immigration systems. They all turn a profit from mass incarceration. One of the most well known players in this space are for-profit prison companies.
Over the last three decades, the private prison industry has put a total of $11.5 million towards influencing federal elections. The annual amount the private prison industry spends on lobbying has risen quickly over the past six years, going from just under $2 million in 2015 up to $4.4 million in 2020. There is also a pattern of high-level ICE and BOP officials going through the revolving door, taking jobs within the same companies they were in charge of regulating.
Private prisons have a powerful financial incentive both to cut corners when it comes to the services they provide, and to push for policies that fuel mass incarceration. Time and time again this has led to extreme abuse of prisoners and immigrant detainees in privately run facilities. These harmful government policies that unnecessarily lock more and more people up.