Private prisons were established during the war on drug and tough on crimes era when the US was incarcerating more people than ever. Since their establishment, activists and politicians have debated whether they should exist to begin with. Some argued they didn’t save the government the projected 20% nor were they of better quality. But they continued to grow into a billion dollar industry. Today the industry is largely dominated by two companies, geo group and CoreCivic. But in 2019, the two companies have had a tough year. From Families Belong Together protests that lead to Wall Street divesting to Democratic candidates saying that they will abolish the industry, if elected. After three decades of arguing it is morally wrong to profit from incarceration and detention, activists say this could be the beginning of the end for these companies.
CORRECTION (Dec. 29, 2019): At 2:30 we misstated the operating costs of state and federal prisons. The costs (as shown on screen) are billions, not millions of dollars.