Friday, September 20, 2013

AZ's Private-Prison Deals

More news you won't see in the Courier: A new study from looked into the contracts and costs of private prisons nationwide, in particular deals that include guarantees by the states to pay for unfilled beds, with findings that ought to make even the most dedicated corporate patsy blush. From the summary:

— 65 percent of the private prison contracts ITPI received and analyzed included occupancy guarantees in the form of quotas or required payments for empty prison cells (a “low-crime tax”). These quotas and low-crime taxes put taxpayers on the hook for guaranteeing profits for private prison corporations.
— Occupancy guarantee clauses in private prison contracts range between 80% and 100%, with 90% as the most frequent occupancy guarantee requirement. 
— Arizona, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Virginia are locked in contracts with the highest occupancy guarantee requirements, with all quotas requiring between 95% and 100% occupancy.
Three Arizona for-profit prison contracts have a staggering 100% quota, even though a 2012 analysis from Tucson Citizen shows that the company’s per-day charge for each prisoner has increased an average of 13.9% over the life of the contracts.
Here's another case of egregious corporate bait-and-switch, selling the idea on promises of healthy competition and reduced cost, then padding out the contracts and privatizing profits while socializing the costs. This isn't a business, it's a racket. The really embarrassing part is where we elect people who claim to be sharp about business and they negotiate deals like this. It has to be either rank stupidity or collusion in robbing the taxpayers blind.