At Odds: Medical Marijuana and Private Prisons that Demand Maximum Capacity

Posted on Mar 17, 2014 in Constitutional & Liberty Issues, Health, Food News, & Big Pharma, Political Issues

Kevin Hayden –

With the surge of headlines debating the use of marijuana, the repeal of cannabis prohibition, and its medicinal qualities, one must wonder why some states are so hesitant in reforming their antiquated laws. If you’re still of the mindset that marijuana is a dangerous gateway drug that leads to acid trips and homicidal rampages, you really need to get with the times.

CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a highly respected neurosurgeon and frontrunner for Surgeon General of the United States, has recently, and very publicly stated that he was wrong about medical marijuana and is now a proponent of its use in medicine.

At the heart of this matter lies money, as with every political spectacle. On one hand, there is the potential tax money earned from the sale and regulation of marijuana, in a similar fashion as alcohol is currently handled. On the other hand, and often with much more political clout behind it (not to mention a small army of lobbyists), is the money earned in the private prison industry. These companies are traded on Wall Street based upon the number of prisoners inside, and push for strict drug laws that guarantee maximum profit.

Falling crime rates are bad for business at privately run prisons, and a new report shows the companies that own them require them to be filled near capacity to maintain their profit margin.

A new report from the advocacy group, In the Public Interest, shows private prison companies mandate high inmate occupancy rates through their contracts with states – in some cases, up to 100 percent.

The report, “Criminal: How Lockup Quotas and ‘Low-Crime Taxes’ Guarantee Profits for Private Prison Corporations,” finds three Arizona prisons must be filled to capacity under terms of its contract with Management and Training Corporation.

If those beds aren’t filled, the state must compensate the company.
The report found that occupancy requirements were standard language in contracts drawn up by big private prison companies.

One of those, The Corrections Corporation of America, made an offer last year to the governors of 48 states to operate their prisons on 20-year contracts.

That offer included a demand that those prisons remain 90 percent full for the duration of the operating agreement.

The report found 41 of the 62 contracts reviewed contained occupancy requirements, with the highest occupancy rates found in Arizona, Oklahoma and Virginia. – Raw Story, Private Prisons Demand States Maintain Maximum Capacity or Pay Fees

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