The three corporations that dominate the private prison industry

The three corporations that dominate the private prison industry

Are they running their game in your state? If you live in the South, the answer is yes.

Written by
Edited by JPat Brown

In the 1980s — when privatization of government services, Miami Vice, and three-martini lunches were all the rage — there were a few companies that wanted to get in on prison privatization’s ground floor. The Eckerd Foundation, offshoot of the Eckerd Drugs store chain, for another. The prison population was growing, and the forecast looked good.

Thirty years later, after mergers and scandal and the financial hurdles that come with them — three companies are the clear forerunners in privatized correctional facilities: Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group, and Management and Training Corporation.

All three were there in the early years (although GEO Group was going by Wackenhut Services in those days). Since then, the promise of the free market has played well for them, particularly in the south where the cycle of poverty has made it both difficult for states to finance new facilities and easy to fill the ones that exist.

Corrections Corporation - Red
GEO Group - Blue
Management and Training Corporation - Green

Do one of these three operate in your state? Know of regional for-profit corrections working in your area? Let us know at, and we’ll help you start digging in.

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Image of GEO Group headquarters by Eflatmajor7th via Wikimedia Commons