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Private prisons demand states maintain maximum capacity or pay fees

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Falling crime rates are bad for business at privately run prisons, and a new report shows the companies that own them require them to be filled near capacity to maintain their profit margin.

A new report from the advocacy group In the Public Interest shows private prison companies mandate high inmate occupancy rates through their contracts with states – in some cases, up to 100 percent.

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The report, “Criminal: How Lockup Quotas and ‘Low-Crime Taxes’ Guarantee Profits for Private Prison Corporations,” finds three Arizona prisons must be filled to capacity under terms of its contract with Management and Training Corporation.

If those beds aren’t filled, the state must compensate the company.
The report found that occupancy requirements were standard language in contracts drawn up by big private prison companies.

One of those, The Corrections Corporation of America, made an offer last year to the governors of 48 states to operate their prisons on 20-year contracts.

That offer included a demand that those prisons remain 90 percent full for the duration of the operating agreement.

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The report found 41 of the 62 contracts reviewed contained occupancy requirements, with the highest occupancy rates found in Arizona, Oklahoma and Virginia.

Private prison companies have also backed measures such as “three-strike” laws to maintain high prison occupancy.

When the crime rate drops so low that the occupancy requirements can’t be met, taxpayers are left footing the bill for unused facilities.

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In Colorado, for example, Democratic Gov. John Hinklooper agreed to close down five state-run prisons and instead send inmates to CCA’s three corrections facilities.

That cost taxpayers at least $2 million to maintain the unused facilities.

It’s more difficult to quantify the societal cost of filling prisons to satisfy private investors.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Trump said he wouldn’t cut Medicare — now he says it could be a fun ‘second term project’

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It's unclear if President Donald Trump is trying to lose the 2020 election or he's simply spitballing with right-wing conservatives, but his latest idea is to gut Medicare in his second term according to the New York Times.

During the 2016 campaign there were at least six occasions in which Trump promised he would protect Medicare.

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5.0 earthquake strikes Ridgecrest, California — two months after 7.1

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Two months after the 7.1 earthquakes that hit outside of Los Angeles, another more modest quake was detected, ABC-7 reported.

While the location of the quake was about 20 miles north of Ridgecrest, California, at the Naval Air Warfare Center China Lake. People as far away as Clark County, Nevada also felt the rumble Thursday afternoon.

https://twitter.com/ClarkCountyNV/status/1164643506494689280

It left several people asking if it was considered a foreshock or a really late aftershock from two months ago.

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New poll shows Republicans may get wiped out — in Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky

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This year, Republicans may be heading for a rough election in an unlikely state: Kentucky.

New internal Democratic polls reveal that the GOP is struggling in three critical Kentucky races taking place in November. In the gubernatorial race, incumbent GOP Gov. Matt Bevin is trailing Democratic Attorney General Steve Beshear 48 to 39.

Further down the ballot, the GOP is also vulnerable. In the attorney general race to replace Beshear, former Democratic state House Speaker Greg Stumbo is ahead 46 to 39 against Republican Daniel Cameron, the former legal counsel to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And in the secretary of state race, where incumbent Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is retiring, Democratic former Second Lady of Kentucky and Miss America 2000 pageant winner Heather French Henry leads GOP former Justice Department lawyer Michael Adams 52 to 37.

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