Despite recent efforts to reduce federal prisoner counts and corrections expenses, private corporations continue to reap a financial windfall from other people's misfortune. Several corporations have fattened their balance sheets as private prison operators and numerous health care providers have received billions of dollars from the federal government, according to a U.S government website tracking federal spending.
Although unknown to most members of the general public, these private contractors in the past ten years have consistently won both competitive and non-competitive contracts with the department of Justice (DOJ) and the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the U.S. Marshals Services (USMS). Following a pattern common to federal and state government agencies, these companies consistently appear in the top ten recipients of government outlays, performing services and facilities that government agencies and their employees either can't or won't provide.
Of course, one might ask why the government is unable to provide a core service such as running a prison, or hiring physicians to treat the prisoners confined in them, and might question the propriety of politicians accepting campaign contributions from companies who provide these services. However, corrections has become big business in the past ten years, as indicated by the statistics.
No one has profited more in the past ten years than Corrections Corporation of America, of CCA, based in Tennessee. CCA has receive $2.3 billion, a substantial 7.3% of the total contractor outlay for DOJ and the BOP. A close second in the corrections cash sweepstakes is the GEO Group of Florida, who received $2.15 billion, or 6.8% of corrections payouts.
By the government's method of accounting, the BOP and Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE) are themselves "contractors," receiving $2.146 billion and $1.6 billion, respectively, from the DOJ. The rest of the top ten recipients of federal money over the past ten years are management consultants, as well as health-care providers. Management and Training Corporation (MTC) received $ 922 million, Hensen Phelps Construction Corporation, $889 million, Krueger International, a health care company, $834 million, healthcare provider MDI Holdings, $654 million, and the medical contractor, McKesson Corporation, $533 million.
After one moves beyond the top ten recipients, there are dozens of other private contractors who receive impressive outlays providing services to federal corrections agencies. The same government website also notes that there are other private contractors, such as the MTC corporation, who receive similarly large sums of money from government agencies other than the DOJ and BOP.
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