Misery Profiteers & Arizona’s Immigration Law
Investors looking for innovative opportunities should consider the fast-growing privatized prisons and detentions sector. Investing in privatized prisons could ensure a steady returns while providing ample potentials for market expansions.
Step 1: The privatized prison industry lobbied for a bill that would tap into a new market (illegal aliens in Arizona’s case) and ensure a reliable stream of prisoners (meaning revenue) for years to come.
Step 2: State lawmakers, sensing an angry populace during an election year, recognized illegal immigrants as convenient scapegoats for the ills facing the state. It is faster and easier to blame someone else – an outside ‘evil’ force – than to accept responsibility and develop substantive solutions that will address the state’s foreclosure crisis, high unemployment rates, and steep cuts to social services. State lawmakers voted to pass SB 1070 to placate frustrated voters and corner their political opponents for being too “soft” on immigration.
Step 3: Local law enforcement agencies now have the legal obstacles cleared to arrest suspected illegals (particularly Hispanics). The passage of SB1070 is greeted like an early Christmas present by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Now police in Arizona can arrest anyone who does not carry the proper identifications to prove his or her legal residency status at all times. Police can justify any traffic stop or conduct questioning under SB 1070’s loosely-defined “reasonable suspicion” standard.
Step 4: Suspected ‘illegals’ (aka Hispanics) are herded into overcrowding jails, stretching local criminal justice and court systems to the max, thus creating an artificial need for governmental authorities to outsource detentions to existing private prison facilities. Additionally, prison overcrowding would place political pressure on local and state governments to commission additional detention facilities, which could be built and operated by private prison operators like the Corrections Corporation of America and The GEO Group.
Prison overcrowding, court backlogs, and political expediency are the chief ingredients for a profitable future in the privatized prison industry. Being smart on crime is not profitable, but creating a culture of fear is. The fear doesn’t even need to be real; corporations just have to create the perception of fear to ensure continued public demand of our product: prisons. This is misery profiteering at its best.
- NPR.org: Part 1 of 2 report Prison economics help drive Ariz. immigration law
- NPR.org: Part 2 of 2 report Shaping state laws with little scrutiny
- San Jose Mercury News editorial: Motive behind Arizona immigration law? Profit.
- Arizona State Legislature: Copy of SB1070 as amended by HB2162
- Download the PDF of Corrections Corporation of America’s 2010 Investor Presentation
- View The GEO Group’s 2009 Annual Report