The United States has more people in prison than even China or Russia. In case you haven't gotten the memo, they tend to be overcrowded in the US prison system, and you probably are also unaware of the fact that many of the detention centers are not actually operated by the government, but by for-profit companies. There are many getting filthy rich off of recidivism.
Who are these people?
If you check the data on the NASDAQ, you can see for yourself that it is Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group. These are the two biggest corporations that operate detention centers in the US. They are the antithesis of "prison-industrial complex".
The individual who's invested the most in private prisons is Henri Wedell.
He now owns more than 650,000 shares in the CCA, and those shares are worth more than $25 million. They have over 80,000 prisoners in 60 facilities.
Another big profiteer is George Zoley, the CEO of GEO Group and the second-biggest investor in the incarceration industry. And trust me, he has no shame about his company's notorious reputation of committing voluminous human rights abuses, he even tried to get a college football stadium named after his company.
Zoley made nearly $6 million last year through salary and bonuses alone, but the real money is in stocks—he owns more than 500,000 shares in GEO, and he has made $23 million in stock trades during one 18-month period.
He assures his company's investors that the incarceration rate won't be dropping any time soon when announcing its earnings.
Retired people and working people like you who contribute to their 401(k) are also big investors in the prison industry. How, you ask?
The Vanguard Group and Fidelity Investments are America's top two 401(k) providers. They are also two of the private prison industry's biggest investors. That means if you have a 401(k) plan, there's a good chance you benefit financially from private prisons. And even if you don't, there are mutual funds, brokerage firms, and banks that invest in private prisons. So, if you have money somewhere other than your wallet or your mattress, it's a good bet you're involved in some way with companies that are locking up and probably abusing prisoners.
According to NASDAQ data, public employees and teachers are well vested in prison. New York and California together have about $60 million Texas and Kentucky have $8.3 million and $4 million Florida ($10.3 million), Ohio ($8.6 million), Texas ($5.6 million), Arizona ($5.3 million), and Colorado ($2.25 million) are also connected to the industry.
In order to stop wrongful incarceration, abuse of the penal system to incarcerate the masses, unjust laws and sentencing and put a screeching halt to the recidivism rate in this country we have to stop making it so profitable. We need to wake up! Our tax dollars-and that includes the prisoners tax dollars- are being converted into "profits". I will leave you with a little known fact. Work Release prisoners pay taxes just like everyone else while incarcerated. And pay an additional tariff (usually $150/wk.) for room and board as well. So you see, we really are all in this together.