Prisons

The prison industry in the United States is massive and growing. Since 1970, the number of incarcerated people in the U.S. has increased by 700 percent, to the point that the U.S. prison population is the largest in the world both per capita and in total numbers. As of 2019, there are an estimated 2.3 million people behind bars and 4.5 million people on probation or parole. The estimated cost of the U.S. mass incarceration system is $182 billion a year, with hundreds of private companies compete for government contracts.

The most visible and publicly debated corporate involvement in the prison industry is through private prisons, i.e. prisons that are owned, managed, or operated by private for-profit companies instead of by government agencies. As of 2019, an estimated 8.2 percent of people in U.S. federal and state prisons are incarcerated in private prisons, and nearly three-quarters of all people in immigration detention are held in privately-run facilities.

However, private prisons are just the tip of the iceberg for prison profiteering. Whether public or private, all prisons, jails, and immigration detention centers rely on for-profit companies for their operations, as nearly every aspect of the prison industry has been privatied to a certain degree. Therefore, our research into the prison industry covers the following areas of corporate involvement:

  • Incarceration and Detention Facilities:
  1. Facility Management
  2. Youth and Family Detention
  3. Private Facilities Internationally  - the only section that covers the prison industry outside the U.S.
  4. Private Prison Financing
  5. Transportation and Deportations
  6. Facility Surveillance and Security
  7. Prison Labor
  • Services in Facilities:
  1. Communication Services
  2. Food, Commissary, and other Goods
  3. Health Services
  4. Banking and Financial Services
  • Supervision and Monitoring:
  1. E-carceration
  2. Community Corrections
  3. Bail Bonds

While privatization is not the root cause of mass incarceration, the profit motive inherent in the prison industry has impacts for the entire system. The two largest private prison corporations, CoreCivic and GEO Group, spend substantial money on lobbying and campaign contributions to secure contracts and promote legislation that results in higher rates of incarceration and immigrant detention. Higher recidivism rates and longer periods of probation and parole are also in the best financial interest of these companies. As long as incarceration and other punishments are profitable, any effort to reduce the scope and impact of the criminal punishment system and end mass incarceration is likely to be undermined.

Our mapping of the private prison industry documents corporate involvement in the various aspects of the prison industry. The industry is comprised of hundreds of companies, many of which are small and privately-owned, and relatively few large, publicly-traded companies. Our database highlights and profiles the main publicly-traded companies in the industry. In addition, we hope to contribute to the larger movement to end mass incarceration by providing information on all profiteers, including the ones that are privately-owned.

The full list
Select private companies are listed below publicly-traded companies.
(!) symbol means this company is on our divestment list
Publicly-Traded Companies
title 3M Co
USA

3M Company is a conglomerate corporation operating in the manufacturing, health care, and consumer goods industries. 3M Supplies materials for prison labor programs and for weapon systems used against civilians.

A US healthcare company. Provides community corrections including residential re-entry programs. Has detained small numbers of unaccompanied immigrant youth.

A US air cargo and transportation company, which operates charter deportation flights for the US government

USA

The world’s largest online retailer and cloud storage provider. It’s the largest provider of cloud computing for US immigration authorities as well as the Israeli government and military, and also supports prison and police surveillance.

title Anthem Inc
USA

A US health insurer that provides health services to youth jails and criminal legal programs

A US-based provider of food service, facility management services, and uniforms globally. Provides food and other logistical services to prisons and immigration detention facilities and uses forced prison labor.

A private prison company, owned by CoreCivic. Owns and manages private halfway houses in Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming.

A US manufacturer of tasers, body and car cameras, drones, and accompanying software that provides these products to US immigration authorities, prisons, and law enforcement agencies.

The second largest banking institution in the US. Has been one of the main financiers of private prison and immigrant detention companies. In 2019 it has announced it would not provide these companies with new loans.

UK

A UK-based multinational bank that has provided credit, loans, and bond underwriting services to US private prison and detention companies.

A US-based conglomerate holding company and investment firm. Its subsidiary Shaw Industries uses prison labor. Other subsidiaries provide equipment, utilities, and uniforms to prisons and jails.

France

A French banking group that is one of the largest retail banks in the world. Has been one of the main financial backers of private prisons and immigrant detention companies. In 2019 it announced it would stop providing loans to these companies.

An Israeli digital intelligence firm that supplies law enforcement agencies, prison authorities, border security agencies, and repressive regimes around the world with hacking technologies.

USA

A US multinational healthcare corporation. Provides mental health services to prisons and jails.

A US-based financial services and bank holding company. Its subsidiary Citizens Bank has provided credit and loans to private prison corporation CoreCivic.

The world’s largest private prison corporation. Owns and manages over 100 correctional, detention, and other residential reentry facilities. Provides the government with other services as part of the criminal punishment system.

One of the largest retailers in the US. Has prison labor in its supply chain.

A Canadian investment and insurance company. One of the largest U.S. bail bond insurers.

A Spanish multinational infrastructure company. Its subsidiary Broadspectrum operates a prison in Australia.

A US-based financial services and bank holding company. Its subsidiary Fifth Third Bank has provided credit and loans to private prison corporations CoreCivic and GEO Group.

A US-based financial services and bank holding company. Its subsidiary First Horizon Bank has provided credit and loans to private prison corporation CoreCivic.

A UK-based financial services and bank holding company. Its subsidiary banks have provided credit and loans to private prison corporation GEO Group.

The largest banking institution in the US. Has been one of the main financiers of private prison and immigrant detention companies. In March 2019 it has announced it would not give these companies new loans. Also charges prisoners exorbitant rates for prison banking services.

Formerly known as CenturyLink, one of the largest telecom companies in the US and a leading provider of telecom services to prisons

USA

One of the world’s largest IT companies. Provides tools and infrastructure used by the US government to surveil immigrant communities and to manage prisons. Divested AnyVision for surveilling Palestinians but keeps providing services to the Israeli police.

A British facility management, consultancy, and product management company that operates private prisons and immigration detention centers in the UK.

USA

A US healthcare corporation, formerly known as Providence Service, that provides medical transportation to prisons.

A US-based communications and surveillance company. Leading supplier of license plate recognition software. Sells surveillance products for use at US prisons, at the US-Mexico Border, and by US police agencies. Its equipment is installed in illegal settlements and in the separation wall in the West Bank and is used by the Israeli military, police, and prison service.

An Israeli surveillance company, specializing in phone, video, and internet monitoring. Its audio and video indexing and mining software Nexidia is used by US prisons.

A US-based financial services and bank holding company. Its subsidiary Pinnacle Bank has provided credit and loans to private prison corporation CoreCivic.

A US-based financial services and bank holding company. Its subsidiary PNC Bank has provided credit and loans to private prison corporation CoreCivic.

A US-based financial services and bank holding company. Its subsidiary Regions Bank has provided credit and loans to private prison corporations CoreCivic and GEO Group.

title RLI Corp
USA

A U.S. specialty insurance company. Has provided surety bonds to bail bond company Libre by Nexus.

A British multinational outsourcing company that operates prisons and immigration jails in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

A Canadian communications equipment manufacturer and internet service provider. Its subsidiary Numerex provides electronic monitoring and surveillance services used for locating and tracking individuals for pretrial adjudication, probation, parole, and immigration control.

A French multinational food services and facilities management company. Operates prisons in Australia and the UK.

An Israeli company specializing in electronic monitoring, digital ID technologies, and cyber security. It owns California-based Leaders in Community Alternatives (LCA), an electronic monitoring and "community corrections" company.

A US-based financial services and bank holding company. Its subsidiary Synovus Bank has provided credit and loans to private prison corporation CoreCivic.

A US workforce housing company that owns and partially operates ICE’s largest youth and family detention center.

The world's 2nd largest private prison company and the largest "community corrections" and e-carceration business. Owns and operates prisons and immigrant detention centers in the US and abroad. Provides the government with other services as part of the criminal punishment system.

A US financial services company. Facilitates money trasfers to prisons.

USA

A US electronic monitoring technologies and equipment company. Provides law enforcement agencies with tracking and surveillance equipment for people on probation or parole.

A large U.S.-based regional bank, formerly SunTrust Banks. Has been one of the main financial backers of private prisons and immigrant detention companies. In 2019 it announced it would stop providing loans to these companies.

title US Bancorp
USA

One of the largest banks in the US. Finances private prison companies CoreCivic and GEO Group. Has been one of the main financial backers of private prisons and immigrant detention companies. In 2019 it announced it would stop providing loans to these companies.

USA

The world’s largest retailer. Uses prison labor in its supply chain.

USA

One of the largest banking and financial services companies in the world. Has been one of the main financial backers of private prisons and immigrant detention companies. In 2019 it announced it would stop providing loans to these companies.

Private Companies
title G4S PLC
UK

The world's largest private security company, owned by Allied Universal. Operates prisons in Australia, South Africa, and the UK. Detains and deports immigrants in the US. Divested most of its activities in Israel but still involved in the training of Israeli Police.