Target: Charles Samuels, Federal Bureau of Prisons Director
Goal: End use of private prisons to incarcerate criminals.
Private prisons were virtually non-existent prior to the 1980s but now the two largest private prison corporations rake in $3.3 billion annually. The federal private prison population has more than doubled between 2000 and 2010 and has seen an increase of nearly 1,600 percent between 1990 and 2009. Private prison companies admit that their budgets depend on high incarceration rates. Private prisons house about six percent of state prisoners, 16 percent of federal prisoners, and nearly half of all immigrants detained by the government. It seems as though these private prisons are only out for profit. We must stop private prisons in the U.S.
Private prisons receive a guaranteed amount of money for each prisoner, no matter what it actually costs to maintain each one. According to one private prison administrator, the secret to low costs is having a minimal number of guards for a maximum number of inmates. Correctional Corporation of America (CCA) reduces inmates’ sentences for good behavior but any infraction results in 30 days of added time – leading to higher profits for CCA. A study of CCA in New Mexico found that inmates lost good behavior time at a rate eight times higher than state-run prisons. In Mississippi, studies found that prisoners in private prisons received twice the amount of infractions, lengthening their sentences by two or three months. The extra time adds up to approximately $3,000 in additional costs per prisoner.
Private prisons do not provide savings compared to publicly operated facilities and conditions tend to be worse in these facilities. The prison industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. They support their own food service companies, conventions, construction houses, armed security, and mail order catalogs. Inmates are paid as little as 17 cents per hour. AT&T Wireless, IBM, Target, and many other companies actually carry products made with private prison labor.
Private prisons do not benefit anyone except corporate investors. Prisoners are not better rehabilitated, costs are not lessened, and human rights are not improved. There is no reason – other than corporate profits – to have a private prison industry. By signing this petition below, you will urge U.S. Bureau of Prisons Director Charles Samuels to discontinue the use of private prisons. Prisoners are criminals but they deserve to be treated humanely and not treated as commodities for corporate fat cats.
Dear Director Samuels,
Our rate of incarceration has skyrocketed and prison conditions have deteriorated. From inexperienced and insufficient guards to atrocious prisoner living conditions, the private prison system has only accomplished one thing – to line the pockets of greedy investors.
Prisoners are criminals and need to serve their sentenced time. It should not be up to a private prison if an inmate’s time is reduced for “good behavior” or lengthened for imaginary infractions. Prisoners should also not be treated as slave labor, earning as little as 17-50 cents an hour working for companies like AT&T Wireless, Target, and countless others.
Your website states that the Bureau of Prisons is a leader in correctional excellence. I urge you to please treat those incarcerated humanely and discontinue the use of profit-seeking private prisons.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Zalesny