We are living in boom times for the private prison industry.
The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s largest owner of private prisons, has seen its revenue climb by more than 500 percent in the last two decades, reports Mother Jones. “And CCA wants to get much, much bigger: Last year, the company made an offer to 48 governors to buy and operate their state-funded prisons. But what made CCA’s pitch to those governors so audacious and shocking was that it included a so-called occupancy requirement, a clause demanding the state keep those newly privatized prisons at least 90 percent full at all times, regardless of whether crime was rising or falling.
“Occupancy requirements, as it turns out, are common practice within the private prison industry. A new report by In the Public Interest, an anti-privatization group, reviewed 62 contracts for private prisons operating around the country at the local and state level. In the Public Interest found that 41 of those contracts included occupancy requirements mandating that local or state government keep those facilities between 80 and 100 percent full. In other words, whether crime is rising or falling, the state must keep those beds full. (The report was funded by grants from the Open Society Institute and Public Welfare, according to a spokesman.)
“All the big private prison companies—CCA, GEO Group, and the Management and Training Corporation—try to include occupancy requirements in their contracts, according to the report. States with the highest occupancy requirements include Arizona (three prison contracts with 100 percent occupancy guarantees), Oklahoma (three contracts with 98 percent occupancy guarantees), and Virginia (one contract with a 95 percent occupancy guarantee). At the same time, private prison companies have supported and helped write “three-strike” and “truth-in-sentencing” laws that drive up prison populations. Their livelihoods depend on towns, cities, and states sending more people to prison and keeping them there. Continue reading “That prison industrial…..”
Saying that he’s trying to improve the lives of the world’s poorest people, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced an ambitious plan to bring internet access to 60 percent of the Earth’s population.
“What he didn’t announce is the naked Facebook self-interest fueling this plan — or his troubled track record as a do-gooder.
“Today, Facebook said it will work toward its internet access goal with makers of smartphone hardware — including Nokia, Qualcomm, and Samsung — trying to create cheaper smartphones, deploy and incentivize cheaper internet access, and slim down webpages.
“No dollar figures or specific technologies were detailed for the “internet.org” alliance, just platitudes about “giving all people around the world the power to connect” and a big headline-grabbing goal of bringing internet access to the 4.4 billion people who do not already have it.
“To promote internet.org, Facebook deployed a heavily edited John F. Kennedy speech to lend gravitas to an empty propaganda video. And Zuckerberg said this: “For almost 10 years, Facebook has been on a mission to make the world more open and connected… Connecting the world is one of the greatest challenges of our generation. This is just one small step toward achieving that goal.”
“What he didn’t announce is the naked Facebook self-interest fueling this plan — or his troubled track record as a do-gooder
“We’re not complaining about Facebook trying to serve its own interests while simultaneously doing something good for the world. People understand, hopefully, that Facebook is a for-profit corporation whose top priority must be its own bottom line, and that Facebook can pursue revenue while also doing some good, helping people stay in touch with their relatives or improving third-world net access. Such win-wins are possible, and should be celebrated. The problem is that this isn’t enough for the company. It has to be solving “one of the greatest challenges of our generation,” with nary a mention of the big financial upside — and there is one, believe me, for Facebook. This is part of a broader pattern in which the company habitually acts like it’s more akin to a charity than a business.”
More at: http://www.wired.com/business/2013/08/facebooks-selfish-gift/