Report from the prison-industrial complex's leading trade show

The Guardian's Rupert Neate attended the 35th annual American Jail Association conference in Austin, and came back with a report on the way that the contractors for America's carceral state talk about their business when they're among themselves.

The top takeaway from Neate's report is that the industry has downplayed its pitch for private contractors as a cost-effective alternative to state-run services. Rather, these contractors now position themselves as liability sponges, companies that will indemnify local governments for lawsuits from abuse and death of prisoners.

This is especially true of health care providers like Corizon and Correctional Medical Group Companies, who kill prisoners by shaving corners, like replacing registered intake nurses with unlicensed vocational nurses. Corizon's earnings increased by 15.6% over 3 years, reaching $1.55bn in 2015.

Over the past five years Corizon has been sued more than 1,300 times, according to analysis by financial research firm PrivCo. Alongside several wrongful death lawsuits, Corizon has also faced legal action over sexual misconduct of its doctors and nurses, including a female employee who paid inmates for sex.

Lawsuits haven't stopped CMCG and Corizon from steadily increasing earnings for their private equity owners over the past few years. Corizon's revenue has grown by 15.6% over the past three years to $1.55bn in 2015, according to analysis for the Guardian by PrivCo.

PrivCo estimates that CMCG, which is rapidly acquiring rival companies to expand beyond its California stronghold, made revenues of about $110m to $120m last year.

Welcome to Jail Inc: how private companies make money off US prisons
[Rupert Neate/The Guardian]

(via We Make Money Not Art)