California Paying Big Price for Prison Privatization

California is now CCA’s second-biggest customer, providing $214 million to the company last year, according to HuffPost’s analysis of the company’s finances. The state is surpassed only by the federal government, which paid CCA $752 million last year, a figure that accounts for contracts with three agencies — the U.S. Marshals Service, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The state of Georgia, the company’s third-largest client, paid $99 million last year.

As CCA’s presence in California has grown, the company has significantly boosted its spending on political campaigns and lobbying in the state, a HuffPost analysis of campaign finance data found. It spent nearly $290,000 on California campaigns during the 2011-12 election cycle, up more than eightfold from the 2005-06 cycle.

As California becomes increasingly dependent on for-profit prison corporations, the news just broke that one in every four GPS devices used to track serious criminals released in Los Angeles County has proved to be faulty, according to a probation department audit — allowing violent felons to roam undetected for days or, in some cases, weeks.

The problems included batteries that wouldn’t hold a charge and defective electronics that generated excessive false alarms. One felon, county officials said, had to have his GPS monitor replaced 11 times over a year; for five days during the 45-day audit period, his whereabouts were unknown. You can read more here.

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