End Tax Breaks for Private Prisons

Target: U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch and the rest of the Joint Committee on Taxation

Goal: End tax breaks for the private prison industry that makes billions off of imprisoning poor people of color.

Private prison corporations recently received nearly $100 million in tax breaks after one year of tax-exempt status. GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) received Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) status, which means they are considered a company that owns property that produces income. REIT status allows GEO Group and CCA to exploit tax loopholes that generate billions of dollars in untaxed profit through a business model that disproportionately targets low-income Americans and people of color.

Private, for-profit prisons are a billion-dollar per year industry that does not incarcerate offenders for rehabilitative or crime-deterrent purposes. Private prisons make exorbitant profits by placing a value on prisoners and using that money to perpetuate a system that exploits incarcerated individuals for monetary and political gains. Making matters worse, the Joint Committee on Taxation continues to give the private prison industry tax breaks, despite record profits and unethical conduct.

REIT status also helps companies like GEO Group and CCA establishe and cultivate deep relationships with politicians. This further allows private prison lobbyists to influence lawmakers at the local, state, and even federal levels of government. GEO Group and CCA, as well as their associates, have both funneled over $10 million to politicians and have spent $25 million in lobbying efforts since 1989. GEO Group and CCA generate over $3 billion in annual revenue and those totals are increasing, while the incarcerated population within privatized prisons has more than doubled since 2000.

The Joint Committee on Taxation has the power to end GEO Group and CCA’s REIT status and send a message to the rest of the private prison industry that exploiting inmates for profit will not be tolerated in American criminal justice. Sign to demand that the tax breaks for these companies end immediately.


Dear Sen. Hatch and Joint Committee on Taxation Members,

The REIT status enjoyed by private prison companies like GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America allows hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks for these companies whose business model does not show a genuine attempt to rehabilitate offenders or deter future offenders, but instead to exploit the incarcerated in the United States for exorbitant profits.

The aforementioned companies, as well as others in their industry, lobby politicians at all levels of government and manipulate those politicians (and by proxy, manipulate local, state, and federal law) to suit their business needs, which are, like any business, profit-centered. By continuing to allow these companies to receive tax breaks, you are complicit in their flagrantly unethical business practices.

The incarcerated still have rights, one of which is to not be exploited for the capital gain of another without their express consent. Just because someone is in prison does not mean they are a cash-cow for greedy private businesses. It is with this in mind that we urge you to revoke the REIT statuses of GEO Group, Corrections Corporation of America, and any other private prison that enjoys such a status.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: kgbo

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  1. It is bad enough that private prisons are making a profit on the incarceration of our citizens, but to be, also, given tax breaks is unethical, immoral and outrageous! They are a greedy, manipulative, exploitative industry that makes huge profits on keeping prison beds filled. Judges have been accused of deal-making to send prisoners to specific private institutions! They do nothing to help rehabilitate prisoners or prevent recidivism.
    Giving tax breaks to private prisons is a terrible idea! Having private prisons, at all, is unconscionable!

  2. Robert Ortiz says:

    They’re no doubt making enough money as it is which is probably way too much to begin with. They have no need to receive tax breaks which would allow them to have even more money at the expense of exploiting incarcerated people.

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