U.S. Private Prison Population Grew 37 Percent Between 2002-2009 As Industry Lobbying Dollars Grew 165 Percent

Today, the Michigan Messenger reports about how the private prisons behemoth Corrections Corporations of America grew over the last decade, expanding both its prisoner population and its political clout. The Messenger cites data from the U.S. Department of Justice showing that the private prison population grew from 87,369 to 129,336 from 2000 to 2009:

Then, citing figures from the Justice Policy Institute, the Messenger notes that lobbying dollars from the major private prison operators grew from $840,885 to $1,391,056 from 2002 to 2009:

This means that as industry lobbying dollars increased 165 percent between 2002 and 2009, the U.S. private prison population grew 37 percent. As ThinkProgress has previously reported, the private prisons haven’t just expanded their political influence by expending lobbying dollars. They’ve also been remarkably apt at placing friendly lawyers and lobbyists in the offices of major decision-makers like Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ), who last year signed a harsh anti-immigrant law that many expect to increase prison populations.