Billions Behind Bars: Inside America’s Prison Industry

GLADIATOR SCHOOL 

The biggest prison in the state of Idaho is also known as the toughest. The privately run Idaho Correctional Center – The ICC – was so violent, the employees and inmates began calling the place the “gladiator school.”

Published: Monday, 19 Sep 2011 by: Jennifer Dauble

People of color once again have become the new found commodity that fuel’s the growth for building new jails and prisons in the U.S. and lined the pockets of big businesses.   Post submission by Gail Noble

Billions Behind Bars: Inside America’s Prison Industry

With more than 2.3 million people locked up, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. One out of 100 American adults is behind bars – while a stunning one out of 32 is on probation, parole or in prison. This reliance on mass incarceration has created a thriving prison economy. The states and the federal government together spend roughly $74 billion a year on corrections, and nearly 800,000 people work in the industry.

From some of the poorest towns in America to some of the wealthiest investment firms on Wall Street, CNBC’s Scott Cohn travels the country to go inside the big and controversial business of prisons. He investigates the business model behind a private prison in Idaho, dubbed a “gladiator school” by inmates and former prison employees who cite its extraordinary level of violence. We also look at allegations of improper corporate prison industry influence over a tough immigration enforcement law in Arizona, and chronicle what happens when a hard hit town in Montana accepts an enticing sales pitch from private prison developers. In Colorado, we profile a little-known workforce behind bars, and discover that products created by prison labor have seeped into our everyday lives — even some of the food we eat.

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