Prison Policy Initiative Debunks “Myth” That Contractor-Operated Prisons Are Responsible For Mass Incarceration
March 22, 2023
WASHINGTON, DC – In a new report released last week titled “Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2023,” the non-profit Prison Policy Initiative debunks several myths about mass incarceration, including the myth that correctional facilities operated by private sector contractors are a cause of mass incarceration. This new Prison Policy Initiative report compiles “the most recent data available on the number of people in various types of facilities.”
Specifically, Prison Policy Initiative states that the “the first myth” in criminal justice policy is the supposed relationship between contractor-operated prisons and mass incarceration, noting that contractors house “just 7% of all incarcerated people,” making them “a relatively small part of a mostly publicly-run correctional system”:
“The first myth: Private prisons are the corrupt heart of mass incarceration
In fact, just 7% of all incarcerated people are held in private prisons; the vast majority are in publicly-owned prisons and jails. …
“Private prisons and jails hold just 7% of all incarcerated people, making them a relatively small part of a mostly publicly-run correctional system.”
The Day 1 Alliance released the following statement by National Spokesperson Alexandra Wilkes on the new report:
“This report from the Prison Policy Initiative once again debunks much of the criticism of private sector contractors in corrections as politically-motivated falsehoods. As the Initiative points out, basic math shows that ‘just 7% of all incarcerated people’ are housed by contractors, ‘making them a relatively small part of a mostly publicly-run correctional system.’ The false myths about contractors only serve to get in the way of what our member companies work to achieve each and every day – respectful, dignified care and good policy that drives positive outcomes in the criminal justice system.”
The report also includes the following infographic highlighting that contractor operated facilities “get a disproportionate share of attention,” despite the fact that the government is the driver behind criminal justice policy and spending:
Note: The report falsely, and without evidence, accuses contractors of having “lobbied to maintain high levels of incarceration.” This is false. In fact, Day 1 Alliance members – including CoreCivic, The GEO Group, Management & Training Corporation, and LaSalle Corrections – have long-standing, zero-tolerance policies against lobbying for or against policies, regulations, or legislation that impact the basis for or duration of an individual’s incarceration or detention.
About the Day 1 Alliance:
The Day 1 Alliance (D1A) is a trade association representing private sector contractors helping government agencies address corrections and detention challenges in the United States. For more than 35 years, D1A members have worked with local, state, and federal governments led by members of both political parties to provide professional, humane, and respectful treatment to incarcerated and detained individuals. From day one, we understand we have a responsibility to provide safe and dignified care to those in our facilities. D1A members do not lobby for or against policies, regulations, or legislation that impact the basis for or duration of an individual’s incarceration or detention.
The members of the Day 1 Alliance are CoreCivic, The GEO Group, Management & Training Corporation, and LaSalle Corrections.