The Privatization of Prisons – How Banks & Wall St Control & Profit from the (In)Justice System

Categories: Open Mic

When our prison system becomes privatized, the goal of that system is to turn a profit without consideration for – and often to the detriment of – any benefit to society. This is true of all public resources that are being undermined by privatization – water, land, education, even the administration of public assistance benefits (for a description of how JP Morgan profits from food stamps, check out:

People will argue that privatization is more efficient. I agree. Private prisons are more efficient at turning public funds into profit for their shareholders, which include “too-big-to-fail” Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Private prisons are more efficient at creating “criminals” through laws like Arizona’s notorious anti-immigrant law SB 1070, which was drafted in secret by the Corrections Corporation of America and other profit-driven members of the American Legislative Exchange Council. Private prisons are more efficient at influencing harsher sentences so that their business is guaranteed success, as in the case of two Pennsylvania judges who accepted $2.6 million in exchange for contracting with private juvenile detention centers and imposing stricter sentences on juveniles (

The following link provides a good overview of how private prisons in this country operate, and includes a video produced by Immigrants for Sale, illustrating how private prison corporations profit from the detention of documented and undocumented immigrants.

The frontlines of this battle to reap profit through criminalization and incarceration has been going on for a long time in this country. It has been waged on youth, on immigrants, on communities of color, on mentally and emotionally dis-eased people, on people without houses (aka “homeless”), on the LBGTQ community. It continues to expand, and unless we unite to make common cause against the privatization of our (In)Justice system, we will continue to fall prey to the strategy of divide, criminalize, incarcerate, and conquer. Unless we stand for each other, we will be too weak to stand for ourselves.

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