The Economics of Jailing Economic Refugees

[Video]: Keith Olbermann segment on this story:

Via ThinkProgress:

In September, ThinkProgress published an investigation into the prison industry’s role in helping enact SB1070, the anti-immigrant racial profiling law passed in Arizona. We charted the role of the private prison company Corrections Corporation of America, which builds and manages immigrant detention centers, in assisting SB1070 sponsor State Sen. Russell Pearce (R-AZ) and how lobbyists from the company work closely with Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ), who signed the bill into law. Private prison companies have funneled money to legislators sponsoring SB1070 copycat bills across the country, and the industry is using a corporate front group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to help lawmakers in Tennessee, Florida, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania to create anti-immigrant laws to encourage police to arrest more immigrants and people of color.

NPR did a follow up story on ThinkProgress’ original investigation:

…prison companies […] had a plan — a new business model to lock up illegal immigrants. And the plan became Arizona’s immigration law.


NPR spent the past several months analyzing hundreds of pages of campaign finance reports, lobbying documents and corporate records. What they show is a quiet, behind-the-scenes effort to help draft and pass Arizona Senate Bill 1070 by an industry that stands to benefit from it: the private prison industry.

Read the rest of the NPR report here.