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Everything wrong with Jail Co. in one article


Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled convicts. We need the cash.

The company that has operated a private prison in Estancia for nearly three decades has announced it will close the Torrance County Detention Facility and lay off more than 200 employees unless it can find 300 state or federal inmates to fill empty beds within the next 60 days, according to a statement issued Tuesday by county officials.

“This is a big issue for us,” Torrance County Manager Belinda Garland said in a phone interview Tuesday. “It’s going to affect Torrance County in a big way.”

People who work at the prison will be unemployed. The remaining prisoners will be shipped somewhere else, likely to a prison that’s already crowded. The only people who won’t be harmed are the ones who profited – financially, politically, both – from the mass incarceration scheme that was branded as the War on Drugs.

Jonathan Burns, a spokesman for CoreCivic — formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America — had this to say about the closure:

“The city of Estancia and the surrounding community have been a great partner to CoreCivic for the last 27 years. CoreCivic is grateful for the support the community has shown through the years and we’re honored to have been a part of that community. Unfortunately, a declining detainee population in general has forced us to make difficult decisions in order to maximize utilization of our resources.”

It’s good to know that the grossly bloated locking up people sector of the economy isn’t meeting quarterly projections, but I’m surprised Rebranded Prison, Inc. is so worried about a slight drop in human units. Between Il Yammering Yam and his craven Republican Congress there are sure to be ever increasing numbers of people who are guilty of something and need to be locked up.

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  • unless it can find 300 state or federal inmates to fill empty beds

    I bet there’s at least 300 executives at RottenToTheCoreCivic. Fill the beds now; we can wait a while for the trials and convictions.

    • Eric K

      I was thinking the Trump admin should be able to fill it, but then remembered he hasn’t appointed that many people yet, but give him time, might be a prudent buisness move to keep the place ready to go.

    • yeah but Sessions is looking to ramp up the “war on crime” again. Despite lower crime rates etc, people apparently feel the need to see some skulls cracked, lives ruined. It’s an odd siege mentality, and I’m not sure how to properly (ie emotionally speaking) counter it.

  • Judas Peckerwood

    All that poor Torrance County did was lie down with dogs — nobody ever said anything about these fleas!

  • Hogan

    This is what they call “misaligning the incentives.” Sorry, folks, you’re not committing enough crime. Of course, once they’ve thrown a couple hundred people out of work. that problem should solve itself.

    • yet_another_lawyer

      Are these materially different than the misaligned incentives publicly owned prisons face? It seems a declining prison population would also lead to closure of government run facilities and prison guard– excuse me, “correctional officer”– unions are notorious for supporting “tough on crime” candidates for that very reason.

      • Just_Dropping_By


        A physician, for instance, does not occupy himself with baking his own bread, making his own instruments, or weaving or tailoring his own clothes. Others do these things for him, and, in return, he treats the diseases that afflict his patients. The more frequent, severe, and numerous these diseases are, the more willing people are—indeed, the more they are obliged—to work for his personal benefit. From his point of view, illness—which is a general obstacle to human well-being—is a cause of his individual well-being. All producers, with respect to their particular field of operation, reason in the same manner. The shipowner derives his profits from the obstacle called distance; the farmer, from that called hunger; the textile manufacturer, from that called cold; the teacher lives on ignorance; the jeweler, on vanity; the lawyer, on greed; the notary, on possible bad faith, just as the physician lives on the illnesses of mankind. It is therefore quite true that each profession has an immediate interest in the continuation, even the extension, of the particular obstacle that is the object of its efforts.

        Seeing this, theorists attempt to found a system on the basis of these attitudes on the part of individuals and declare that need is wealth, that labor is wealth, and that the obstacle to well-being is well-being itself. To multiply obstacles is, in their eyes, to encourage industry.

        Then the statesmen take over. They hold the power of the government in their hands; and what is more natural than to put it to use in increasing and spreading obstacles, since this is the same as increasing and spreading wealth? They say, for example: “If we prevent iron from coming from the places where it is abundant, we create in our own country an obstacle to obtaining it. This obstacle, when it is felt acutely, will induce people to pay in order to get rid of it. A certain number of our fellow citizens will devote themselves to struggling against it, and this obstacle will make their fortune. The greater it is, that is, the scarcer, the more inaccessible, the more difficult to transport, the more remote from the blast furnaces the ore is, the more manpower all the branches of this industry will employ. Hence, let us bar foreign iron ore; let us create the obstacle, so as to create the need for labor to struggle against it.”

        Frederic Bastiat, Economic Sophisms, First Series, Ch. 2, ¶¶ 10-12.

        • stepped pyramids

          Proudhon was right about Bastiat.

      • Hogan

        That’s an argument about CO unions, not about publicly run prisons. Governments are not solely in the prison business, and locking up people doesn’t generate budget surpluses; it just drains resources from other operations. It’s our fucked-up politics that’s the problem, not anything intrinsic to public ownership.

  • Deborah Bender

    I am surprised they aren’t switching over to being a detention center for prospective deportees.

    • Owlbear1

      I read somewhere on the Internet that ICE had determined those facilities were too clean and well maintained for what they had in mind.

  • osceola

    Another one of companies that changes its name to outrun its horrible reputation. Like Blackwater, TimeWarner cable, etc.

    • Owlbear1

      Yeah, if corporations are people why aren’t it’s executives tried for murder when their’s fails?

      • weirdnoise

        Corporations don’t really die. Their organs assets are sold to the highest bidder.

    • science_goy

      Am I the only one that finds the new, giant-windowless-flag-cube branding actually much creepier than the old?

      • Owlbear1

        In an alternate universe the national bird turned out to be The Turkey and it’s fucking hilarious.

      • I thought of the building where It (A Wrinkle in Time) lives. So, yes.

  • hellslittlestangel

    Estancia is one town I’d definitely not set foot in. I’d guess the cops are on the prowl for jaywalkers, loiterers, litterers, whatever — even white ones.

    • The prisoners are to be state or federal. The local cops feed the local jail, not the prison (or at least not directly).

      • hellslittlestangel

        A cop who can’t turn a discarded candy wrapper into at least a state-level offense has got some learning to do.

        • True. On the other hand, there seems to be no shortage of city cops who can turn almost anything (or nothing!) into a capital offense, eliminating the need for prisons altogether.

          • hellslittlestangel

            So the Estancia PD will crack down on police shootings? “We need ’em alive, boys. They ain’t worth a nickel to us dead.”

            • Lurking Canadian

              So…uh…silver lining?

          • (((realinterrobang)))

            The summary executions thing is very efficient. Law enforcement, judge, jury, and executioner in one! Think of the tax savings!

  • I’m hoping for the day when CoreCivic’s financial bankruptcy matches its moral bankruptcy.

  • Wapiti

    This reminds me of the story of the man who has no prospects for a job and no skills to get one. He is given a job by the mayor to polish the cannon in the town’s park. After sometime, he tells the mayor he is quitting; he has saved up enough money to buy his own cannon and go into business for himself.

  • Paul Thomas

    One of these days I need to reread some notes on the private nondelegation doctrine, because I sure as hell don’t see how private prisons can coexist with it.

    • sigaba

      It there’s positive law allowing private prisons then doctrine doesn’t come into play.

      Also it can be argued that what cannot be delegated is authority. Private prisons act in the name of the government and according to government-determined rules, they do not supplant or replace the authority of the government to operate prisons. The state hasn’t signed away its competency to run prisons.

      • Paul Thomas

        Eh? The whole point of the private nondelegation doctrine is that it is a constitutional principle that trumps contrary statutes.

  • NicknotNick

    “Jesus, look at the corruption in that face!” he whispered. “Look at the madness, the fear, the greed!”

  • cpinva

    “What we have here, is a failure to communicate.”

    Cool Hand Luke

    having spent so much time on trying to kill people slowly, in the first six months of their oligarchy, the republicans in congress have failed to take advantage of their opportunity to create as many new criminal statutes as possible, thus obviating the need to close any private prisons owned by their owners. they’re not only an evil, but astonishingly stupid bunch, to the benefit of the rest of us.

    “With great evil, comes great stupidity.”

    the smarter Uncle Ben

    • fredoandme

      “what we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

      followed by “some men you just can’t reach.”

      cool hand luke. a film for all seasons and reasons.

  • I’m sure that once the Voting Rights Commission heats up, we’ll have millions of fraudulent voters that will need to be warehoused.

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