Union Urges Criminal Justice Reform
(WASHINGTON) — The Teamsters Union is denouncing the findings of a new study revealing that private prison management firms have contracts that directly link profits to inmate capacity. The Teamsters Union represents 30,000 correctional officers in 20 states across the country.
According to a new report by the nonpartisan group In the Public Interest, corrections industry giants such as Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the Geo Group, have negotiated lucrative agreements with certain states that guarantee high inmate capacities to ensure significant profits.
“Having a paid lockup quota is outrageous,” said Michael Filler, Director of the Teamsters Public Services Division. “Our criminal justice system should not be a for-profit arrangement. We need to have laws that put real criminals behind bars, not incentives for prison company executives to line their pockets.
“Those advocating a free-market approach for prisons are robbing taxpayers of essential public services by recklessly using scarce tax revenues to pay for prison quotas. These sweetheart deals must stop, and elected officials must take appropriate steps to reform the system.”
Under certain existing contracts, states are required to pay private prison companies when the number of prisoners drops below a negotiated number. For example, Arizona has a 100 percent capacity requirement, meaning that payments are required to the for-profit corporation even if the number of inmates is reduced. Such an arrangement is contrary to a public goal of lower incarceration rates, and diverts thousands and sometimes millions of taxpayer dollars, according to the report.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.