This month, the nation's largest for-profit prison operator, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), has been celebrating Black History Month with blogposts remembering Rosa Parks and Facebook trivia contests about the contributions of African American musicians. CCA is also celebrating its 30thyear as company with a series of anniversary parties around the country.
However, we believe that there is nothing to celebrate about an industry that has built a fortune on the incarceration of people of color. Consider these facts:
- Corrections Corporation of America has amassed a fortune on mass incarceration, bringing in more than $1.7 billion annually. CCA spends millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions to ensure their facilities stay full. Last year, CCA sent a letter to 48 governors offering to buy state prisons in exchange for 90 percent occupancy rates for years to come.
The NAACP continues to stand firmly against racial disparities in our criminal justice system and the operation of for-profit private prisons. We believe that the concept of privately owned companies making profit from incarcerating human beings is intolerable. In fact, last year, the NAACP passed a resolution advocating for the abolishment of private prisons; transparency and accountability for those already in existence; and opposition to the selling and operation of any federal, state or local prison facility to any private company.
This month, we celebrate the legacy of African Americans and our allies who have struggled for freedom -- not private prison corporations that profit from mass incarceration of people of color.