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However, according to the Department of Justice’s “Emerging Issues on Privatized Prisons” report, private prisons offer at best a 1% cost savings over their government operated counterparts, while at the same time having 49% more assaults on staff and 65% more assaults on other inmates. Corporations owning correctional facilities is not the only way that prisons and the War on Drugs have been used as a source of income.
For instance, even in government-ran facilities, inmates and their families are regularly subject to price gouging by phone carriers. While the average cost of a phone call in the United States is 3 cents per minute, inmates and their families end up paying between 16 cents and .00 per minute. The profits are then split between the carrier and the government body who awarded the contract.
While the War on Drugs initially had a small impact on incarceration, it was President Reagan’s Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 that kickstarted the prison boom. From 1970 to 2005, the prison population rose 700 percent, while violent crime remained steady or declined. Between 19, the populations of private prisons shot up 1,600 percent. Today, the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world – 754 inmates per 100k residents as of 2008. This is roughly 600% that of the rest of the civilized world, with England and Wales having 148, and Australia 126 inmates per 100k residents. As of 2010, private corporations house over 99,000 inmates in 260 facilities nationwide. Corrections Corp.
of America and other private contractors became members of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a non-profit 501(c)(3) association that advocates “tough on crime” legislation. In their 2010 report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Corrections Corp.
General Electric (GE) owns a 49% stake in NBC-Universal and NBC Networks (includes NBC News, NBC Sports, NBC Television, NBC Universal, CNBC, CNBC World (Arabia, India, Asia, Europe), MSNBC, Bravo, Sy Fy Channel, Telemundo, USA, Oxygen and more) along with 46 NBC affiliate stations and more stations internationally. Viacom owns a massive amount of television properties including MTV Networks (and the many variants including MTV Networks International which operates in 160 nations), BET Networks, CMT, Comedy Central, Logo, Nickelodeon, Spike TV, TV Land, and VH1. They also control several film production companies under Paramount Pictures Corporation and a massive internet presence.
In the realm of film production and distribution, GE owns Universal Pictures, Focus Features, and Rogue Pictures with production agreements with more companies and distribution through Universal Studios Home Entertainment. CBS Network consists of 30 stations and a 50% share of the CW Network, the other 50% belonging to Time Warner along with 130 radio stations, major book publishers like Simon & Shuster, prominent online holdings, CBS Outdoor and more. The case against increased media conglomeration is a strong one with countless supporting factors, although many individuals seem to come to this conclusion naturally when seeing how the vast majority of the media they are exposed to come from just a few corporations, all of which have close relationships with each other.
of America discussed how drug policy reform threatens their business model: The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws.