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Sat Feb 1, 2014, 07:35 PM

Nebraska Lawmaker Wants Her State To Stop Paying Private Prisons For Empty Cells

Nebraska Lawmaker Wants Her State To Stop Paying Private Prisons For Empty Cells

By Alan Pyke

Promising to keep private prison cells full will be illegal in Nebraska if a proposal from state Sen. Amanda McGill (D) becomes law.

McGill, who is running for higher state office this year, has introduced legislation banning the government from guaranteeing payment to private contractors regardless of the level of service the contractor provide. While that may sound so obvious as to be unnecessary, states often make those kinds of promises to corporations when they privatize public services.

The most notorious examples are private prison contracts that guarantee companies like the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) a certain minimum occupancy level at prisons, and promise to pay CCA the difference should prison populations sag below that level. Such “lock-up quotas” appear in two-thirds of all prison privatization contracts, according to a report last fall by the anti-privatization group In The Public Interest (ITPI).

McGill’s legislation would ban those kinds of payment guarantees across all state contracts, but is specifically targeted at prison contracts. The bill also would amend the state’s corrections contracting law in a variety of ways to both protect taxpayers and regulate prison companies more tightly....Contracts that force public payments for empty cells give elected officials reason to keep prisons as full as possible, which means criminalizing as many behaviors as possible. The largest driver of America’s incarceration epidemic is the futile, decades-old War on Drugs, but backroom deals with prison companies compound the country’s larger problem.

- more -

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/02/01/3237401/nebraska-prison-contracts-reform/


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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Nebraska Lawmaker Wants Her State To Stop Paying Private Prisons For Empty Cells (Original post)
ProSense Feb 2014 OP
NaturalHigh Feb 2014 #1
Merlot Feb 2014 #2
NaturalHigh Feb 2014 #3
pnwmom Feb 2014 #5
pnwmom Feb 2014 #4
Merlot Feb 2014 #7
Brigid Feb 2014 #6
kcr Feb 2014 #8
pnwmom Feb 2014 #10
icymist Feb 2014 #9
ProSense Feb 2014 #11

Response to ProSense (Original post)

Sat Feb 1, 2014, 08:36 PM

1. I have a radical solution.

This especially applies to my home state of Oklahoma.

Stop sending non-violent drug offenders to prison. Stop locking people up for marijuana possession. Not only would we not need private prisons, we could probably close down some of the state prisons.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Sat Feb 1, 2014, 10:52 PM

2. This could backfire with a crooked judge who decides to send everyone

to jail just to keep the jails full.

Michael Moores movie "Capitalism: A Love Story" had some kids with minor offenses getting locked up in detention by a crooked judge. Eventually, the judge got his own justice and was put behind bars for taking payoffs from the company that ran the detention center.

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Response to Merlot (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 1, 2014, 10:54 PM

3. I remember when a story like that hit the news.

Law and Order SVU did a really good episode about that too.

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Response to NaturalHigh (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 1, 2014, 10:55 PM

5. Yes, that was a good one. n/t

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Response to Merlot (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 1, 2014, 10:54 PM

4. What do you mean "backfire"? It is aimed directly at those crooked judges. nt

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 1, 2014, 11:01 PM

7. It reads that it's aimed at stopping the payment clauses

While it does say there will be tighter regulation on judges, it's main focus seems to be the contract payments.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Sat Feb 1, 2014, 10:58 PM

6. I have a better idea:

How about banning privately run prisons?

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Response to Brigid (Reply #6)

Sat Feb 1, 2014, 11:07 PM

8. That's exactly what should happen

All the private prisons will do in response is ramp up the lobbying for tough on crime to fill the prisons to make up the difference. As long as profit is a motive, there will be a motivation to fill those cells. This legislation won't change that.

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Response to Brigid (Reply #6)

Sun Feb 2, 2014, 12:25 AM

10. I agree. But I think they'd wither on the vine if states wouldn't sign that clause.

They don't want to take the risk of a declining population.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Sat Feb 1, 2014, 11:17 PM

9. Private prison contracts should be illegal

If big corporations want to privatize the public sector then the public should not have to subsidize them when they lose money.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Sun Feb 2, 2014, 11:13 AM

11. Kick! n/t

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