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New Report Names Nearly 4,000 Companies Profiting Off of Private Prison Industry

"Today, more than half of the $80 billion spent annually on incarceration by government agencies is used to pay the thousands of vendors that serve the criminal legal system."

"Before this report, many of the companies involved in the prison industrial complex flew below the radar, often intentionally to avoid the headline risk that comes with profiting off mass incarceration today."

"Before this report, many of the companies involved in the prison industrial complex flew below the radar, often intentionally to avoid the headline risk that comes with profiting off mass incarceration today." — Bianca Tylek (Photo: Bureau of Land Management, Oregon, Flickr)

A new report provides information on which corporations are profiting from the private prison industry. 

The report (pdf), which was released by criminal justice advocacy group Worth Rises, is based on a database run by the organization that lists a total 3,900 companies in 12 sectors that make money off of the prison industrial complex. 

The scope of the income taken in by these companies, the report says, is in the tens of billions. 

Today, more than half of the $80 billion spent annually on incarceration by government agencies is used to pay the thousands of vendors that serve the criminal legal system. They are healthcare providers, food suppliers, and commissary merchants, among others. And many have devised strategies to extract billions more from the directly impacted communities supporting their incarcerated loved ones. 

The database was first published last year, with 3,100 companies. Tuesday's update adds another 800 corporations to the list. 

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Bianca Tylek, the executive director for Worth Rises, said in a statement that the report will make it harder for prison profiteers to operate without scrutiny. 

"Before this report, many of the companies involved in the prison industrial complex flew below the radar, often intentionally to avoid the headline risk that comes with profiting off mass incarceration today," said Tylek. "This data brings these companies to light and equips advocates with the information needed to challenge them."

The report presents the data mostly in raw form as a research service. The download link is in the report

Adding more corporations to the list is part of a push to expose the predatory practices of the for-profit prison industry, Tylek said. 

"This year's edition expands on our original report with the addition of more than 800 companies," said Tylek. "In publishing this report, we continue to expose the multi-billion-dollar industry built off the vulnerable communities—disproportionately black, brown, and cash poor—targeted by the criminal legal system."

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