OP-ED: Trump and the sickening private prison industry
He believes he is God’s gift to earth, but in reality Donald Trump, the Republican Party presumptive presidential candidate, is just an obnoxious blowhard, an unrepentant racist and a shameless liar. And on top of it all, he supports the despicable private prisons industry. Not exactly presidential material, if you ask me.
“I do think we can do a lot of privatizations, and private prisons it seems to work a lot better,” Trump said to Chris Matthews last month when the MSNBC pundit asked him how he planned to reform the country’s prison system if he became President.
Yes, “the Donald” is right, private prisons work a lot better, but only for the corporations that make billions off the suffering of thousands of powerless families.
It makes sense for an immigrant hater like Trump to support such a shameful business. After all, there is a lot of money to be made by keeping as many immigrant mothers and children behind bars as possible. Who cares if their only “crime” is believing -mistakenly, as it happens-- that in the U.S. they could find a safe haven after escaping from their terror-ridden countries.
“We are pleased with our first quarter financial performance …” Damon Hininger, chief executive officer of Corrections Corp. of America (CCA) said in a sickening press release. “Our financial performance was driven primarily by stronger than anticipated demand from our federal partners, most notably Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
In other words, CCA, the largest private prison corporation in the country, was paid millions by ICE, that is, by taxpayers, for jailing defenseless women and kids in inhuman conditions.
“We are pleased,” Hininger said, and how could he not? CCA made $447.4 million in this year’s first quarter, an increase of 5 percent over the same period last year. Not that their 2015 income —$1.79 billion— was chump change.
“The increase in revenue was primarily attributable to a contract at the South Texas Family Residential Center…,” the press release added. Located in Dilley, Texas, the 2,400-bed facility is primarily used to jail, yes, you guessed it, Central American mothers and children.
The second largest private prison corporation, the GEO Group, also had much to celebrate.
Their earnings went up $136 million, a whopping 17 percent increase over the previous year, due in good measure to an addition of more than 600 beds to another “residential center,” in Karnes, Texas.
Immigrant advocates have accused both detention centers of multiple human rights violations.
“CCA and GEO Group are profiting massively from family detention,” said Bob Libal, executive director at Grassroots Leadership, an Austin, Texas-based national organization that works to end prison profiteering.
The whole concept of private prisons is a sickening one, and it is sickening, although not surprising, that Trump is in favor of abusing women and children who deserve to be treated as what they are: refugees.
Private prisons could be in trouble if the next President is a Democrat. Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders oppose them.
"In my view, corporations should not be allowed to make a profit by building more jails and keeping more Americans behind bars," Sanders has said with typical forcefulness. “Criminal justice and public safety are the responsibility of the citizens of our country, not private corporations, and they should be carried out by those who answer to voters, not those who answer to investors".