It’s no secret that the United States not only has the highest number of citizens in prisons per capita than any other country in the world, we also have, by a wide margin, the highest number of citizens locked away in prison as well.

What may not be so well known is just how many prisons in the U.S. these days are private, for-profit prisons. Imagine that? A company based on the premise that it would go broke if people started being, well, you know, rehabilitated.

If judges miraculously began coming up with more creative ways to, gasp, start coming up with other ways to actually reform ne’er-do-wells and help criminals whose crimes in no involve damage to anyone else’s person or property, those prisons, and all the rich people that have invested in them or sit on their board of directors would lose a whole lot of money if they had a bunch of empty prisons sitting around.

Well, thanks to some good ol’ boys down in Louisiana at least, there’s no chance in hell of that happening.

A national survey has found that Louisiana guarantees private prisons operating in the state that they will have at least 96 percent occupancy, and if they don’t house that many inmates, the state pays them that much, anyway.

A study by In the Public Interest points out what it calls “the shocking prevalence of contract language between private prison companies and state and local governments that either guarantee prison occupancy rates, (which ItPI calls “lockup quotas”) or force taxpayers to pay for empty beds if the prison population falls due to lower crime rates or other factors.”

The report labels payment for nonexistent prisoners “low-crime taxes.”

Hahaha, get it? “low-crime taxes! It’s genius! If for some reason Louisiana law enforcement and judges can’t collude and contrive to get enough lowlives in prison to meet their quote then Louisiana taxpayers have to pick up the difference. Not to mention there’s probably hell to pay if any Louisiana prison accidentally comes in under the quota.

One thing the article doesn’t mention but you can bet your bottom dollar is that whether it’s politicians or judges, somebody is getting their kickbacks for helping keeping their prisons at a “profitable” capacity.

Posted by James Poling

A socialist, tinkerer, thinker, question asker and all around curiosity seeker. If you'd like to reach me you can use the contact link above or email me at jamespoling [at] gmail [dot] com.

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  1. […] national survey has found that Louisiana guarantees private prisons operating in the state that they will have at […]

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