“Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured” (Hebrews 13:3)
For-profit private prisons are a multi-billion dollar industry in this country. The industry’s sole purpose is to incarcerate more people so that owners and shareholders can profit more and more. Nearly 20% of Arizona’s inmates are held in private prisons. The United Methodist Church opposes the privatization of prisons and jails and profit-making from the punishment of human beings. Learn more about private prisons and what we can do to put a stop to them.
Join us on September 24 at 7:00 PM for 1.5 hours.
What’s the difference between Private Prisons and government Prisons?
Private prisons are prisons that are operated by for-profit corporations instead of by governmental authorities but are paid with your tax dollars. They operate under contracts with federal, state, and local authorities including the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the US Marshal Service, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the US Department of Homeland Security, and approximately 30 states. They take in $3 billion a year and have spent tens of millions of dollars in lobbying costs.
Private prisons are usually paid on a per inmate, per day, basis. As a result, they have little incentive to rehabilitate prisoners or prevent recidivism. More crime, more prisoners, and more recidivism mean more profits. On the flip side, less crime, reforming drug laws, and shorter sentences mean fewer prisoners and lower profits. Private prisons can also increase profits by cutting costs they spend on services such as healthcare, education, space, staff, etc. Remember, a private prison’s priority is profits for its shareholders.
Reforming our criminal justice system is made more difficult by the existence of private prisons whose profits will be hit by reforms. For example, decreasing the prison population, reducing sentences for certain crimes, reducing the amount of time served by increasing good time credits, decreasing recidivism, etc., can all result in fewer prisoners spending less time in prison. This results in lower profits for private prisons. We can expect that private prisons will fight these reforms!
You can learn more about private prisons and what we can do to put a stop to them.
Attend the ZOOM event on September 24 at 7:00 pm. This informational session is sponsored by the Desert Southwest Conference Prison Reform Task Force. Please share this invitation with your community.