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A consensus is growing that is truly unprecedented. More and more Americans—including leaders from both political parties—agree that mass incarceration is neither cost-effective for taxpayers nor safe for our communities.

But the private corrections industry, made up of companies that make more profit when more people are in the system, is an obstacle to change. For-profit private prison operators, like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, and companies that work in industries such as health care, telecommunications, and prisoner banking, have grown to provide an increased number of services to America’s correctional facilities.

Each year, the private corrections industry collects hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from taxpayers. To strengthen safety and justice in our communities, we should invest that money in improving and expanding treatment and rehabilitation programs, with a focus on job training, mental health care, and substance abuse treatment.

There is no better time than now to work together to build a more moral and cost-effective criminal justice system, a system that better serves taxpayers and communities.

About the Campaign

Programs Not Profits is a multi-year campaign that promotes replacing private profits that hurt incarcerated people, correctional officers, and taxpayers, with publicly funded and managed programs that provide job training, mental health care, and substance abuse treatment.

If you have questions or would like to get involved, contact In the Public Interest’s Communication Specialist, Jeremy Mohler, at or 202-429-5091.


The Latest

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Report: The Banks That Finance Private Prison Companies

November 17th, 2016

A new report details the private prison industry’s reliance on credit, bonds, and loans, and the profits that banks make from these transactions.


Buying Influence: How Private Prison Companies Expand Their Control of America’s Criminal Justice System

October 12th, 2016

Every year, private prison and other corrections companies spend millions of dollars influencing public officials.

Fact Sheet: GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America Spend Billions of Taxpayer Dollars Purchasing Smaller Companies

September 1st, 2016

The largest private prison companies have expanded their control of the U.S. criminal justice system by purchasing smaller companies.


Fact Sheet: Private Prison Companies Encourage Mass Incarceration by Owning Facilities

July 27th, 2016

Private prison companies further mass incarceration by marketing empty facilities that they own.


Research Brief: How Private Prison Companies Increase Recidivism

June 16th, 2016

America’s high rates of incarceration and recidivism have become heavy burdens for communities, the economy, and taxpayers. How Private Prison Companies Increase Recidivism, a new research brief from In the Public Interest, details how private prison companies add to that burden by increasing recidivism. The brief shows that people incarcerated in prisons operated by for-profit companies, […]

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Cutting Corners in America’s Criminal Justice System

April 27th, 2016

In an effort to provide services with fewer resources while also maximizing profits, private corrections companies often cut corners.


Private Prison CEOs Continue to Make Much More than the Correctional Officers that Work for Them

March 31st, 2016

New data released last week by the federal government shows striking inequality in the private prison industry, which collects hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from taxpayers each year. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, the median salary for correctional officers at private prisons and jails in 2015 was $32,290. The data reveals that one in four […]


One Way We Could Tackle Mass Incarceration Today

March 7th, 2016

If our criminal justice system stopped sending people to private jails and prisons, hundreds of millions in tax dollars a year could be spent on providing rehabilitation and alternatives to incarceration.


How Private Prisons Take Tax Dollars Away from Fixing Our Criminal Justice System

February 26th, 2016

Every year, private prison companies collect thousands of tax dollars in profit for every incarcerated person in their facilities.


Private Companies Profit from Almost Every Function of America’s Criminal Justice System

January 20th, 2016

An infographic depicting the possible paths of people charged with different offenses, revealing the various privatized services provided by the corrections industry.