REPORT: Private Prisons Already Seeing A Big Return On Their Investment In Trump
Private prisons that have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to pro-Trump groups stand to rake in significant profits due to Trump’s immigration and justice policies.
GEO Group, one of the largest private prison corporations in the country, and CoreCivic (formerly known as the Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA) each donated $250,000 to support Trump’s inauguration celebration. A subsidiary of GEO Group also donated $225,000 to a Super PAC that helped elect Trump.
These companies already stood to get a strong return on their investment in Trump based on his executive order on immigration. While it targets more immigrants for deportation, the Department of Homeland Security also issued instructions stating that undocumented immigrants should be detained until their cases are settled, rather than the “catch and release” program more common under the Obama administration.
Last year, about 65 percent of DHS’s detainees were housed in private prisons. Under these new policies, that number stands to rise. In fact, DHS’s new instructions on immigration call for the construction of more prisons near the southern border to detain immigrants.
Immigration is not the only expanding opportunity for private prisons. Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has issued an order rescinding an Obama-era directive for the Justice Department to phase out its use of private prisons. Stocks in the private prison industry jumped accordingly.
Under the Obama administration, the Justice Department had found that private prisons had more safety and security issues than public ones. That, combined with the decline in the national prison population, led then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates (yes, that Sally Yates) to issue an order for the government to gradually shift away from using private prisons. Sessions has now said that the policy does not give the department enough flexibility to “meet the needs of the federal correctional system.”
Before the election, private prisons were falling on hard times, due in large part to that Obama administration decision. On the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton had also announced plans to shift states away from using private prisons. Since the election of self-proclaimed “law and order candidate” Trump, stocks have risen by 100 percent.
For companies that profit from imprisonment, business is set to boom under Trump.
Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images
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Laura has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University, and a Master of Arts in International Affairs from Boston University Pardee School of Global Studies. In addition to Reverb Press, she is a contributor at Mic and Medium.