Private prison companies like CCA and The Geo Group approach cash-strapped states and offer to save them money by buying their prisons. However, evidence that private prisons save money is mixed at best. States pay a daily fee for each prisoner housed in a private prisons, and corporations set a number of beds (usually no less than 1,000) and an occupancy rate (usually around 90 percent) that states must meet or pay a fine for each empty bed. It is unbelievable that such deals are legal since they give states an incentive, other than crime, to keep people in prison
In the past 10 years, CCA has spent $17.4 million on lobbying. Between 2003 and 2012, it made $1.9 million in political contributions.