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MIAMI (AP) -- Locking up illegal immigrants has grown profoundly lucrative for the private prisons industry, a reliable pot of revenue that helped keep some of the biggest companies in business. And while nearly half of the 400,000 immigrants held annually are housed in private facilities, the federal government - which spends $2 billion a year on keeping those people in custody - says it isn't necessarily cheaper to outsource the work, a central argument used for privatization in the first place...A decade ago, just 10 percent of the beds in the nation's civil detention system were in private facilities with little federal oversight. Now, about half the beds are part of a sprawling, private system, largely controlled by just three companies: Corrections Corporation of America, The GEO Group, and Management and Training Corp...At the same time, the three businesses have spent at least $45 million combined on campaign donations and lobbyists at the state and federal level in the last decade, the AP found.
As I keep saying, it often turns out that privatization is not cheaper than public provision of services. And in the case of prison companies and defense contractors, and HOA/condo service providers, privatization leads to the creation of powerful interest groups that lobby for expansion and deregulation of the privatization programs from which they profit. And the whole privatization effort is supported ideologically by anti-government rhetoric, especially the bogus claim that public sector service provision is inherently inefficient, government employees are lazy and overprivileged, and the so-called private sector is vastly superior in every way, if only it could be completely deregulated. That anybody can still belief this nonsense after deregulation killed the S&L industry in the 1980s and caused the financial sector meltdown of 2008 is a tribute to the power of propaganda.