Friday, June 9, 2017

New Speak and the Resurgence of Private Prisons

I was reading an article this morning in The Wall Street Journal and I was struck by the "newspeak" illustrated in the re-branding of Corrections Corp of America.

Corrections Corp was among the largest and oldest private prison corporation in America. Mother Jones has an article providing background on the company:
The Corrections Corporation of America, by the Numbers. July-August 2016. Mother Jones,

The Corrections Corporation of America launched the era of private prisons in 1983, when it opened an immigration detention center in an former motel in Houston, Texas. Today the Nashville-based company houses more than 66,000 inmates, making it the country’s second-largest private prison company. In 2015, it reported $1.9 billion in revenue and made more than $221 million in net income—more than $3,300 for each prisoner in its care.
Corrections Corp does not have a great reputation for treatment of prisoners and individuals corralled within its detention centers.

In 2016 the Justice Department stated that it would discontinue using Corrections Corp services after issuing a report finding lower quality services and higher costs associated with private detention facilities:

Evelyn Chang. (2016, August 18). Prison stocks plunge after report Justice Department will end use of private prisons. CNBC

Corrections Corp and GEO (another private detention contractor) suffered a sharp drop in stock, up to 40 percent after the announcement.

But a happier day has arrived for both corporations as "Growth in Federal Prisoners Expected" (WSJ June 9, 2017 p. A3 by Beth Reinhard) AND Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned the Obama admin. decision to phase out contracts with for-profit prison operators, according to the article.

Corrections Corp and GEO have both enjoyed near-doubling of their stock value since President Trump's election.

Corrections Corp has re-branded itself as "CoreCivic" to leverage the new regime of government aimed at privatizing American's infrastructure in a scheme best described by Hudson as the "toll booth economy" (see here).

CoreCivic is an apt signifier for this regime of neo-conservative government (see my account here) as it encodes a core contradiction: 
Trump's regime of government promises populism and partnerships, but delivers an authoritarian predator state cloaked in euphemisms.

See this video for background:



  1. Michael Flynn and a Grand Scheme to build scores of Nuclear Power plants in the middle east with Russia

    1. Thanks for that link!
      Sometimes I think there is no hope...


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