End the Use of For-Profit Prisons in Texas
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Privately owned prisons exist throughout Texas. In short, they exist to make money off of your taxes and your neighbors' prison sentences. A privately owned prison is a for-profit organization in which people are incarcerated by a third party contracted by the government, meaning the State of Texas gives private businesses money to hold people behind bars. Regardless of your political views, this is an issue that all Texans should stand against, for these reasons:
- Private prisons exploit your taxes. As anyone who has done their research can tell you, private prisons make money off of the number of prisoners they hold, and for how long they hold them. To them, prisoners aren’t “criminals who need rehabilitation” but “clients.” A simple phone call to any prison, private or public, could confirm just as much. The money for private prisons comes from the Texas State Federal Budget. In other words, your sales taxes, your business taxes, and your franchise taxes. They use money that could go towards paying the guards at public prisons for making private corporations rich.
- Private prisons are less safe. There is overwhelming evidence that the standard of living in private prisons is lower than that of a public prison. In public prisons, prisoners have access to medical care, rehabilitation, programs for sexual assault prevention, and guards are under a strict set of rules when it comes to using force on inmates. In private prisons, none of these programs exist for “clients.” Violence from guards goes undocumented, the inmates are watched less, and there are often insufficient or untrained doctors providing care. There is evidence these problems caused by private facilities can even lead to an increase in violent crime once inmates are released. However, it gets worse when it comes to rehabilitation.
- Private prisons target minorities and lower class neighborhoods. The majority of private prison “clients” are incarcerated for possession of drugs. Often times, rehab is not offered in these facilities, so inmates are often thrown straight back in jail after getting out. Sentences are also artificially inflated to keep inmates in longer, keep them from proper medical care, and accrue more tax revenue. Essentially, a private prison will incarcerate a working-class American for an incredibly low-level crime, inflate their sentence to make as much money from the state as possible, and then wait until they get caught with drugs again to repeat the process. All to make a quick buck off of your tax dollars.
As Texans who care about our money, our safety, and our communities, we stand against the use of private prisons in Texas. We hope you will stand with us.
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