Slicing and Dicing the Prison Commissary Business

Three american prisoners in orange jump suits surround a picnic table outdoors enjoying their prison commissary

By Christopher Zoukis The Prison Policy Initiative, a non-profit advocacy group, recently released a study examining how state prison commissaries operate. One observation made in the report: commissaries often exploit incarcerated persons, by shifting the costs of incarceration from the state to inmates and their families. The central problem, according…

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Private Prison Populations Grew Five Times Faster than Prisons Overall

A study of the statistics from the Department of Justice shows private prison populations are increasing five times faster than prisons overall.

By Christopher Zoukis The Sentencing Project, a non-profit advocacy group, recently released a short study on privately-owned prisons in the U.S.  One of the most striking facts documented by the study, Capitalizing on Mass Incarceration: U.S. Growth in Private Prisons, was that in the first sixteen years of this century,…

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Lawsuit Over GEO Group “Voluntary” $1 a Day Work Program Survives Motion to Dismiss

By Christopher Zoukis A federal judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit challenging private prison company GEO Group’s “Voluntary Work Program,” which pays detained immigrants $1 per day for cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and otherwise running the facility in which they are held. The December 6, 2017 order rejected GEO’s arguments…

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BOP Orders Staff Cuts of Nearly 14 Percent

By Christopher Zoukis In twin developments as the Trump administration developed its new budget proposal, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) told federal prison officials to prepare for across-the-board reductions in authorized staffing levels of nearly 12 percent, and ordered them to identify inmates now in federally-run facilities who could…

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DOJ Inspector General Outlines Challenges for Federal Prisons

By Christopher Zoukis As has been done annually since 1998, in October, the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general released a list of what he sees as the leading management and performance challenges confronting the agency in the year ahead. One of the eight areas identified by Inspector General Michael…

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Pressure from Advocacy Group Leads University of California to Partially Divest from Wells Fargo

By Christopher Zoukis Following demands from the Afrikan Black Coalition (ABC), the University of California has agreed to terminate $475 million worth of contracts with Wells Fargo Bank. According to a press release from ABC, the terminated contracts include a $25 million commercial paper contract, a $150 million interest rate…

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Bonds Used to Finance Private Prisons, Jails Turn into Junk

By Christopher Zoukis The promise of safe, humane and less costly prisons has been used for decades by the private prison industry to sell its products. As prison populations skyrocketed, local, state and federal governments became convinced that financing and building more and more correctional facilities was the way to…

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