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Hartmann: Privatized Prisons...Criminal in a Democracy

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Ohio Governor John Kasich made history yesterday - as Ohio became the first state in the history of this country to sell a state-owned prison to a for-profit private corporation. The Lake Erie Correctional Institute opened up in 2000 - and at the end of this year will be officially owned and operated by the Corrections Corporation of America - also known as CCA - which shelled out $72 million bucks to buy the facility from the state - and will now get paid for every single new prisoner they lock up.
CCA is the largest private prison corporation in America - and made over $430 million in the last quarter of this year. And the guy who runs Ohio's Department of Rehabilitation and Correction - and is in charge of overseeing the state's prison - a guy named Gary Mohr - just so happens to be a former employee of CCA. But CCA is no stranger to getting what it wants - namely more prisoners to lock up for more profits. As a member of the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council - which writes tailor-made legislation on behalf of its corporate members to hand off to state legislators to turn into laws - CCA has spent years writing and pushing legislation for stricter laws to throw more and more people in prison. It's simple - if your business depends on locking people up - then you're going to push for legislation to lock up more people - whether it's good for the criminal justice system or not. Cliff Schecter joins Thom - he is the National Progressive PR strategist at Libertas LLC.


Today - the United States has more people in prison - both as a percentage and in absolute numbers - than any other country in the developed world. And it appears the destructive nature of administering our criminal justice system based on the profit motive plays a huge role in our nation's exploding prison population. A fact that seems to allude Ohio Governor John Kasich. So how worrisome is it that corporate power is now creeping into the commons of our criminal justice system? And what are the consequences?

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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