Canada’s Coming For-Profit Prison Business
The Canadian Conservative government has tabled legislation that includes mandatory sentences and will increase the cost of Canada’s prison system. While the government has not been able to inform Canadians how much this new tough justice bill will ultimately cost them, here are a few, five year old, facts from Prison Justice that should give you a good idea of how much of our tax dollars are being wasted simply keeping people behind bars:
- Correctional services expenditures totaled almost
$3 billion in 2005/6, up 2% from the previous year.
- Custodial services (prisons) accounted for the largest proportion (71%) of the expenditures, followed by community supervision services (14%), headquarters and central services (14%), and National Parole Board and provincial parole boards (2%).
- This figure does not include policing or court costs which bring the total expenditures up to more than $10 billion for the year.
- Cost of incarcerating a Federal prisoner (2004/5):
$259.05 per prisoner/per day
- Cost of incarcerating a Federal female prisoner (2004/5):
$150,000-$250,000 per prisoner/per year
- Cost of incarcerating a Federal male prisoner (2004/5):
$87,665 per prisoner/per year
- Cost of incarcerating a provincial prisoner (2004/5):
$141.78: per prisoner/per day
- The cost of alternatives such as probation, bail supervision
and community supervision range from $5-$25/day.
The Tap Blog: The United States of America has long held the highest incarceration rate in the world, far surpassing any other nation. For every 100,000 Americans, 743 citizens sit behind bars. Presently, the prison population in America consists of more than six million people, a number exceeding the amount of prisoners held in the gulags of the former Soviet Union at any point in its history.
The number of people imprisoned under state and federal custody increased 772% percent between 1970 and 2009, largely due to the incredible influence private corporations wield against the American legal system. Because judicial leniency and sentencing reductions threaten the very business models of these private corporations, millions have been spent lobbying state officials and political candidates in an effort to influence harsher “zero tolerance” legislation and mandatory sentencing for many non-violent offenses.
The New Yorker: No other country even approaches that. In the past two decades, the money that states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education.
The Huffington Post: Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest operator of for-profit prisons, has sent letters recently to 48 states offering to buy up their prisons as a remedy for “challenging corrections budgets.” In exchange, the company is asking for a 20-year management contract, plus an assurance that the prison would remain at least 90 percent full, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Huffington Post.
“It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Shakyra Diaz, policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio. “In order to have it at 90 percent, you need to be able to make criminals to fill it at 90 percent.”