Congressional Republicans and the wealthy oligarchs that pull their puppet strings have orchestrated intricate systems to extract wealth from the American taxpayer and funnel it into their own pockets.
Nowhere is this more clear than when it comes to private prisons. The CEOs of the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group recently held calls to the shareholders, in which they crowed about their record profits that they have made by detaining migrant women and children. The CCA saw a 5% increase in profit to $447.4 million in the first quarter; GEO Group saw a 17% increase and predicted their annual revenue to $2.2 billion dollars. “We are pleased with our first quarter financial performance, which exceeded our first quarter guidance…” said CCA CEO Damon Hininger. “Our financial performance was driven primarily by stronger than anticipated demand from our federal partners, most notably Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
The “stronger demand” was the construction of new detention facilities to hold primarily Central American migrants who had fled the violence and horror of their home nations in search of safety and opportunity here in the United States. These facilities hold mainly women and children who must wait for a judge to decided whether or not to deport them. Referred to as “baby jails” by human rights activists, the centers are unfit to house young children and are notorious for their poor living conditions. Mothers who protest by going on hunger strikes were reportedly, threatened with immediate deportation or separation from their children, or locked in solitary confinement in the pitch dark.
Each prisoner costs the US taxpayer about $160 a day. Since there are 34,000 immigrants jailed every day, that ends up costing taxpayers $2 billion USD annually. As profits rise, CCA and GEO are beginning to cut costs, saving even more money for themselves while forcing their detainees to live in inhumane conditions. It is deplorable that the American people are wasting millions of tax dollars to keep innocent people locked up in inhumane conditions – which all goes into the profits of big business – and back into the campaign war chests of politicians like Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.