As the U.S. private prison industry has grown over the last several years, studies have shown that private prisons are incentivized to lobby for more incarceration. During an investor call this week, the CEO of private prison operator Corrections Corporation of America signaled that incarceration rates would remain high, assuring investors that immigration detention would be a strong source of business for the foreseeable future, ColorLines reports. Addressing the prospect of federal immigration reform, CEO Damon Hininger said Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have said there will “always be a demand for beds”:
It’s too early to tell exactly what the impact [of reform] is going to be, but again, ICE has always said that there’s going to be a demand for bed space here in the US because of all the things they’re doing both within the interior, on the border, from the people that are released from state prisons that are ultimately need to be deported. […]
There is always going to be strong demand regardless of what is being done at the national level as far as immigration reform.
Hininger’s assurances suggest a disturbing financial interest in more incarceration. And this is not the first time CCA officials have expressed optimism about higher incarceration rates. A 2011 report bragged that the industry is resistant to recession and that there is the “potential of accelerated growth in inmate populations following the recession.” CCA facilities have been deemed riddled with violations of state law, and have seen deadly riots break out.