//GA Contracts With Private Prisons Leading To High Incarceration Rate

GA Contracts With Private Prisons Leading To High Incarceration Rate

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money-in-jailA report released this week by the advocacy group ‘In the Public Interest’ reveals a hidden secret behind the high incarceration rate not only in Georgia and Florida, but also across the nation.

Both Georgia and Florida have signed contracts with private prisons throughout the state, promising that at least 90 percent of beds must be full at all times, or else the respective states must pay a penalty.

A similar law and contract exists in Arizona, in which the state paid $3 million because they failed to keep to their ‘terms of the contract.’

Four privately-run prisons in Georgia (Coffee Correctional Facility, Jenkins Correctional Center, Wheeler Correctional Facility, and Riverbend Correctional Facility) have contracts with the state guaranteeing 90 percent occupancy at all times. Three of the four prisons are owned and controlled by Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest private prison chain.

Experts argue that such requirements create an incentive for policymakers to focus on filling empty prison beds, as opposed to pursuing long-term policy changes, such as sentencing reform, that could significantly reduce prison populations.

It’s the same story for many Florida prisons- eight, to be exact- including the Lake City Correctional Facility.

Read the full report from ‘In The Public Interest’ here with a corresponding story from the Huffington Post here.