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February 2012
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Motley Fool says Prisons a Strong Buy

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“State prisons have a 96% occupancy rate, while federal prisons are at almost 140% of capacity. And the prison population [is] growing at 5% annually. The market potential also remains huge, with only 8% of prisons privatized so far.”

The only possible downside they note is the potential for legalization of marijuana.

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11 comments to Motley Fool says Prisons a Strong Buy

  • Paul

    You know, I usually laugh at the long list of businesses of which the Left disapproves and urges people not to invest in, like cigarette companies, big pharma, big oil, etc.

    But this…wow. Now, there’s a line I cannot cross. Private industry is pretty much always cheaper and more efficient, so making prison a better financial deal for the government is awful. Because government will not take the opportunity to save money, rather, they will just add more prisoners.

    One thing we’ve learned over the long years of the drug war is that the government would actually like to jail quite a few more people than they already have. The government has an insatiable appetite to incarcerate, and it will continue to grow the prison population until something stops it, like economic disaster or citizen revolt.

  • Cliff

    Incarceration of any citizen is supposed to be expensive and reserved for those who are a threat to society. It is supposed to hurt all of us when we lock someone up and remove them from participation and contribution to our society.

    The privitization of our prison system is commoditizing incarceration and, by nature, will encourage a wider definition of what constitutes a threat to society and a more zealous and loose application of our judicial system. This path of societal “management” is fraught with the potential for the same kinds of moral hazards and abuses we experienced in the financial meltdown and every other money on money bankster scheme.

  • Servetus

    The laws of public corporations require that they prioritize growing themselves for the benefit of their stockholders. Even corporate gift-giving can be challenged by stockholders if some investor is cranky enough to do so. Community support and charity vis-a-vis a public corporation is often motivated by public relations, and in these cases companies can get away with a bit of generosity, but basically these types of corporate donations are illegal.

    This difference in legal structure differentiates unions and corporations from government. Government has no such legal mandate to grow itself for the sake of profit or anything else. Government can bestow money onto people and non-profit organizations. Government expansion is still influenced to grow by the commercial sector, and that’s a problem, but at least it’s not written into government law that corporations rule it rather than the reverse.

    By privatizing the prison system, a statutory mandate kicks in that essentially orders the private prison industry to maximize profits in every way legally possible on behalf of its investors. What’s legally permissible is the advocacy and support for an insanely oppressive society with an hysterical obsession to punish people for nonsensical crimes. And that makes the private prison industry a clear threat to free society.

    • Duncan20903

      Servetus, you’re just plain wrong. Please see Ben & Jerry’s balance sheet for details.

      http://www.benjerry.com/activism/occupy-movement/

      • Servetus

        An early 20th century Supreme Court case mandates that investors in public companies always receive the majority of the profits, and a discussion of the case can be found in Joel Bakan’s book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, pp 16-9, along with a movie based on his book. Unfortunately, my copy of Bakan’s book is in my storage unit and unavailable for purposes of obtaining a precise case reference. However, at about 15:45 minutes/sec into the movie based on the Bakan book, Noam Chomsky essentially says what I said about corporate legal mandates regarding profit distributions.

        References:

        The Book: http://www.amazon.com/Corporation-Pathological-Pursuit-Profit-Power/dp/0743247469/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1330009988&sr=1-1

        The Movie Trailer: http://www.thecorporation.com/index.cfm?page_id=46

        Watch the movie here on Hulu: http://www.hulu.com/watch/118169/the-corporation

        ***
        Here are some other revealing resources depicting the corporate mindset and the reasons corporations engage in a legally limited philanthropy through the creation of non-profit foundations, etc:

        Jerome L. Himmelstein, Looking Good and Doing Good: Corporate Philanthropy and Corporate Power, pp. 25–28 (Indiana, 1997), noting a fear of government intrusion and regulation as a reason for corporate giving;

        Joseph Galaskiewicz, Corporate Contributions to Charity: Nothing More than a Marketing Strategy, in Richard Magat, ed, Philanthropic Giving: Studies in Varieties and Goals, 246, pp. 250–52 (Oxford, 1989), discussing contributions as a tax strategy;

        Nancy J. Knauer, The Paradox of Corporate Giving: Tax Expenditures, The Nature of the Corporation and the Social Construction of Charity, 44 DePaul L Rev 1 (1994) at pp. 57–60.

    • Windy

      Servetus, the government is (supposed to be) constrained by the Constitution from engaging in charitable giving. Have you never read the story of Davy Crockett and the conversation he had with a constituent after he became an elected member of congress and while he was traveling his district in a bid for re-election? Perhaps you should, it explains why government is (supposed to be) constrained from this use of taxpayers’ monies. You can read it here:
      http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig4/ellis1.html

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    It’s hard to believe those clowns are still in business. The first major lesson that I learned when I started trading the stock market in 1997 was that I should ignore their advice. I wonder if the history of Iomega (IOMG then IOM) is still available on the web. Lots of people lost a lot of money paying attention to those idiots back in that day. Removable discs with 100 megabytes of storage were the future of personal computers according to them.

    The lesson is so deeply ingrained that my knee jerk reaction is to sell those stocks short simply because they say to go long, and I don’t even have a type 5 account anymore.

    • Steve

      From what I’ve heard prison populations have been leveling off/dropping. I certainly don’t believe the quoted 5% increase applied to Florida in 2011.

  • Dante

    More and more, it becomes obvious that our Federal Government treats We The People like a crop to be “harvested”.

    Now, with private prisons, it’s like the Matrix. People are the raw material used by the “elite” to make money.

    Using people as your raw material to make money for yourself – isn’t that slavery?

  • Benjamin

    Absolutely disgusting: “If the marijuana laws find themselves overturned, the justice system will find itself in a difficult position to fill nearly one million cells. Where will they come from?”