For those who can afford it, many misdemeanor violations and traffic violations are punished with a fine that can be paid the very same day. But for those who can’t, those same offenses may become subject to a punishment much more menacing.
A lawsuit that initially exposed chronic under-staffing by Corrections Corporation of America depicted violence -- unchecked by an adequate presence of guards and other staff -- as so rampant at Idaho Correctional Center that it was known by its inmates as "gladiator school."
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A record number of lawmakers may be calling for shorter sentences and less people in prison. But in the prison industry, contracts with states and local jurisdictions commit them to filling private prison beds — or pay them to keep those beds empty.