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All Dressed Up and No Prison CEO To Debate

Last week, we challenged Damon Hininger, the head of Corrections Corporation of America – the world’s largest for-profit incarceration company – to a debate on the merits of prison privatization. Today, Mother Jones reported that the company is shrinking from the challenge.

We invited Hininger to tell us, in a 90-minute public debate with equal time given to each side, why he thinks we’re wrong to call for the elimination of for-profit incarceration. As we wrote to Hininger: “If you truly believe that private prisons are right for our country, we see no reason why you would be unwilling to defend that position in a public debate.”

These are the views we invited CCA to refute in a public forum:

 Evidence that for-profit prisons save taxpayer money is mixed at best, and privatization cannot fix the nation's binge spending on incarceration. Indeed, the industry's business model depends on extracting as much public money as possible by locking up the maximum number of people.

 Private prisons have incentives to maximize profits by cutting comers at the expense of decent conditions and public safety. Empirical research supports the view that private prisons pay correctional officers lower wages, resulting in higher turnover and less experienced staff.

 New prisons, whether public or private, deliver few benefits to local communities.

And here from CCA to answer the challenge, debate these assertions, and expose them as bunk is . . .

Well, no one.

If you think you deserve to know the truth about what CCA is doing with your taxpayer dollars, go here and urge Hininger to accept our invitation.

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David Shapiro

David Shapiro is a staff attorney at the ACLU National Prison Project, where his work focuses on immigration detention, privatized incarceration, and prisoners' First Amendment rights.

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