The Prison Industry

The U.S. corrections system is a massive industry. It is estimated to hold behind bars over 2.2 million people, with more than 5 million under probation or parole. Its estimated annual turnover is $74 billion. 

Our research has spanned the entire scope of the criminal punishment system, to provide the following mapping of corporate involvement in various aspects of that system. The services provided by companies range from prison facilities management, health and food services, to private probation services and the supply of surveillance apparatus. Other areas where companies are springing up to take advantage of potential profits in mass incarceration will be covered in the next phase of our research, including: prisoner banking, facility construction, information technology, and prison labor.

The privatized prison industry has been shown to contribute to human misery in its operations, and to mass incarceration in its political influence. It includes hundreds of companies, many of them very small, with relatively few publicly-traded companies. Our investment screening tool highlights and profiles the main publicly-traded companies in this industry. However, we hope to contribute to the larger movement to end mass incarceration by providing the information below on the entire field of profiteers.

Read more about the U.S. mass incarceration industry.

Facility Management

Facility management is the traditional arrangement most people associate with prison privatization: A for-profit corporation is awarded a contract with a city, county, state, or federal government agency to manage the daily operations of a jail, prison, or detention center.
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The main companies involved in this sector are:
Corrections Corporation of America, of Nashville, TN (NYSE: CXW)
Geo Group, of Boca Raton, FL (NYSE: GEO)
G4S plc, of Crawly, U.K. (LON: GFS, OMX: G4S)
Sodexo SA, of Issy-les-Moulineaux, France (EPA: SW)
Management and Tarining Corporation, of Centerville, UT (Private)
Emerald Corrections Management, of Lafayette, LA (Private)
LaSalle Management Company, of Ruston, LA (Private)
Community Education Centers, Inc. (CEC), of West Caldwell, NJ (Private)

Youth Detention and Treatment

Private juvenile detention facilities include jails and prisons (county, state, and federal) as well as alternative programs such as group homes, halfway houses, residential drug treatment, and mental hospitals.
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The main companies involved in this sector are:
Abraxas Youth and Family Service, a subsidiary of Geo Group, of Boca Raton, FL (NYSE: GEO)
G4S Youth Services, a subsidiary of G4S plc, of Cawley, UK (LON: GFS, OMX: G4S)
Management and Training Corporation, of Centerville, UT (Private)
Youth Services International, of Sarasota, FL (Private)
Cornerstone Programs (Formerly Rebound), of Englewood, CO (Private)
Mid-Atlantic Youth Services Corporation, of Emlenton, PA (Private)

Prison Food, Commissary and other Goods

Every item in a prison--from the food on the plastic trays to the uniforms worn by prisoners and guards--is a potential business opportunity. For the purposes of our analysis, the 'prison goods' market includes the supply of prison food services, commissary, vending, clothing, and prison furniture.
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The main companies involved in this sector are:
Aramark, of Philadelphia, PA (NYSE: ARMK)
The Compass Group PLC, of Chertsey, Surrey, U.K. (LSE: CPG)
Sodexo SA, of Issy-les-Moulineaux, France (EPA: SW)
Canteen Services, Inc., of Grand Rapids, MI (private)
Hobart Corporation, a subsidiary of Illinois Tool Works, of Glenview, IL (NYSE: ITW)
Keefe Supply Company, the Keefe Group, the Centric Group LLC, of St. Louis, MO (Private)
Bob Barker Company, Inc., of Fuquay-Varina, NC (Private)

Prison Phone Services

Companies providing prison telephone service enjoy a state-sponsored monopoly, since prisoners can’t choose which phone service they want to use. Once a contract is awarded, the cost of phone calls is set by the telephone companies, without any competition. In all but eight states, contracts include “commissions” paid to jails and prisons – direct payments to the contracting agencies, added on top of the price of the phone call and paid by the prisoners.
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The main companies involved in this sector are:
Corrections Corporation of America, of Nashville, TN (NYSE: CXW)
CenturyLink Public Communication, Inc., of Monroe, LA (NYSE: CTL)
Global Tel*Link Corporation, of Mobile, AL (Private)
Securus Technologies, Inc., of Dallas, TX (Private)
ICSolutions Advanced Technology, Keefe Group inc., of San Antonio, TX (Private)   
Telmate LLC., of Ontario, OR (Private)
Pay-Tel Communications Inc., of Greensboro, NC (Private)
NCIC Inmate Phone Services, of Longview, TX (Private)

Prison Video Visitation

Video visitation companies provide real-time interactive video communication services connecting family members and others with incarcerated people. Often, they charge exorbitantly high rates for remote capabilities, operate through unreliable technology, and shut down traditional in-person visitation in prisons and jails using it.
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The main companies involved in this sector are:
CenturyLink Public Communications, Inc., of Monroe, LA (NYSE: CTL)
HomeWav, of Virginia Beach, VA (Private)
ICSolutions Advanced Technology, Keefe Group inc., of San Antonio, TX (Private)
M2 Technology, Inc., of San Antonio, TX (Private)
Renovo Software, a subsidiary of Global Tel*Link, of Mobile, AL (Private)
JPay and Primonics TeleCorrections, subsidiaries of Securus Technologies, of Dallas, TX (Private)
Telmate, of San Francisco, CA (Private)
TurnKey Corrections, of Hudson, WI (Private)
The Sierra Companies, of Brighton, CO (Private)
Sydaptic Inc, of Waco, TX (Private)

Medical and Mental Health Services

Almost all states contract out at least a portion of their correctional health services to outside companies. Types of services performed by private vendors include comprehensive care such as medical and mental health care, dental care, and specialized services such as dialysis, pharmaceutical services, or other medical specialties. Prisoners are captives, they have no choice in their care-givers, and cannot access alternatives.

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The main companies involved in this sector are:
Centene Corporation, of St. Louis, MO (NYSE: CNC)
MHM Services, of Vienna, Virginia (OTC: MHMI)
Correct Care Solutions LLC., (formerly Geo Care) of Nashville, TN (Private)
Corizon Health Inc., owned by Valitas Health Services, Inc., of St. Louis, MO (Private)
Armor Correctional Health Services, Inc., of Miami, FL (Private)
Emerald Healthcare Systems LLC, a subsidiary of Emerald Companies, of Lafayette, LA (Private)
Wexford Health Sources, Inc., of Pittsburgh, PA (Private)
Naphcare, of Vestavia Hills, AL (Private)
California Forensic Medical Group Incorporated, of Monterey, CA (Private)

Transportation Services

Transportation services refer to all supervised prisoner transportation at the local, state, and federal level, including court and medical visits, extradition, and transportation between jurisdictions.
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The main companies involved in this sector are:
G4S, of Crawley, U.K. (LSE : GFS, OMX : G4S)
TransCor America LLC, a subsidiary of CCA, of Nashville, TN (NYSE: CXW)
GEO Transport Inc., a subsidiary of The GEO Group, Inc., of Boca Raton, FL (NYSE : GEO)
Emerald Correctional Management, Emerald Companies, of Shreveport, LA (Private)
In-Custody Transportation, Inc., of San Dimas, CA (Private)
BlackTalon Enterprises, Inc., of Napa, CA (Private)
Prisoner Transportation Services LLC, of Nashville, TN (Private)
U.S. Prisoner Transport Services, Inc, of Melbourne, FL (Private)

Community Corrections

Community corrections refer to criminal justice supervision and services provided to individuals outside prisons and jails. This includes all “alternatives to incarceration” such as probation, electronic monitoring, home confinement, day reporting centers, intermediate sanctions facilities and programs, and court-ordered treatment programs, as well as re-entry services including parole supervision, halfway houses, and transition programs.
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The main companies involved in this sector are:
GEO Group, of Boca Raton, FL (NYSE: GEO)
Correctional Alternatives, Inc., belongs to CCA, of Nashville, TN (NYSE: CXW)
G4S plc, of Brawley, U.K. (LON: GFS)
Avalon Correctional Services, belongs to CCA, of Nashville TN (NYSE:CXW)
Aspen Education Group, a subsidiary of Acadia Healthcare, of Franklin, TN (NASDAQ: ACHC)
Community Education Centers, Inc. (CEC), of West Caldwell, NJ (Private)
ComCor, Inc., of Colorado Springs, CO (Nonprofit)

Private Probation

In the states and municipalities in the U.S., if a person is given a traffic ticket or other citation but cannot pay the fine immediately, they are placed on “probation.” Over 1.6 million adults were on probation for misdemeanor crimes as of January 2013. Private probation companies then supervise, drug test, and collect court ordered fines from them. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are sentenced to probation with private companies for misdemeanors every year by well over 1,000 courts across the U.S., mainly in the South.
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The main companies involved in this sector are:
Providence Services Corporation, of Tucson, AZ (NASDAQ: PRSC)
Judicial Correction Services, a subsidiary of Correct Care Solutions LLC., of Nashville, TN (Private)
Sentinel Offender Services, of Lawrenceville, GA (Private)

Supervision and Surveillance Equipment

Incarcerated individuals have no privacy rights, being ever exposed to searches and monitoring. This makes prisons and jails an important market for new and ever more invasive tracking, surveillance and monitoring technologies. Similarly, community corrections and alternatives to incarceration create ever-growing markets for electronic monitoring technologies.

The major companies profiting from these practices are listed below. 3M Electronic Monitoring and G4S are global leader in this industry, and about a third of the electronic monitoring market in the U.S. is controlled by Behavioral Interventions (BI Inc.), a wholly-owned subsidiary of GEO Group.
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The main companies involved in this sector are:
3M Electronic Monitoring ltd., a subsidiary of 3M Company, of Odessa, FL (NYSE: MMM)
BI (Behavioral Interventions) Inc., a subsidiary of Geo Group, of Boca Raton, FL (NYSE: GEO)
G4S plc, of Crawley, U.K. (LON: GFS, OMX: G4S)
Omnilink, a subsidiary of Numerex Corp., of Atlanta, GA (NASDAQ: NMRS)
TrackGroup Inc. (previously SecureAlert), of Salt Lake City, UT (OTC: TRCK)
Alanco Technologies, Inc., of Scottsdale, AZ (OTCQB: ALAN)
Dräger Safety, Inc., Drägerwerk AG & Co. KGaA, of Lübeck, Germany (ETR: DRW3)
Satellite Tracking of People LLC, acquired by Securus Technologies Inc., of Dallas, TX (Private)
iSECUREtrac LLC, acquired by Corrisoft Inc., of Lexington, KY (Private)
Sentinel Offender Services, of Irvine, CA (Private)
Sierra Detention Systems, The Sierra Companies, of Brighton, CO (Private)