Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), owner of the largest private prison system in the United States, recently sent a letter to 48 states offering up to $250 million to manage government-owned detention centers. The letter lists the criteria of eligible purchases, which include an assurance that state corrections agencies “have sufficient inmate population to maintain a minimum 90 percent occupancy over the term of the contract.”
This guarantee isn’t difficult to rationalize when considering it from CCA’s point of view. They are paid by the government for each prisoner they house, so they want to house as many prisoners as possible in order to maximize their revenue.
But what if there aren’t enough prisoners to fill CCA’s quota? Private prisons have faced this dilemma before, and they’ve responded by buying prisoners through legislation, government infiltration and old-fashioned bribery. And in the not too distant future, these conditions may mean that the mass arrests of Occupy protesters could become a windfall for investors.