Adam Ruins Everything – The Shocking Way Private Prisons Make Money

Adam Ruins Everything – The Shocking Way Private Prisons Make Money


Adam, you got me
into this, now you get me out! I promise, I have someone
working on it. But in the meantime,
this is a great opportunity to explain why our
nation’s prison system is a failure
on every level. Ha! So you know
a lot about prison? I bet you watch a lot
of PBS documentaries, huh? I guess you’re right. I do lack
firsthand knowledge. Ooh, maybe you could
help me do this episode? Sure.
Nothing better to do. (snaps fingers) Whoa! Do you have magic
TV powers like Adam? Nope, but I got
a lot of favors. (both)
Hmm. Early lunch today. Early lunch today,
everyone. America’s prison system
is a total mess. Whatever purpose you think
it serves, it ain’t doing it. Well, the point of prison
is to reduce crime. It’s definitely not
doing that. There are
2.2 million people incarcerated in the U.S., ten times more
than 50 years ago. Two million is more than
the population of some states. Welcome to Mass-Incarceration-
Achusetts. Our primary export– shivs. Our secondary export– cod! Hey!
That’s cod-traband. (laughing) But despite
this massive increase in the prison population, a study conducted
by the NYU School of Law found that the effect
on the crime rate has been essentially zero. Zero? Then why do we lock
so many people up? Well, I can’t speak
for all prisons, but this one
is here to make money. Make money? You mean someone is
profiting from all this? Yep, these guys are. It all started
in the “tough on crime” ’80s, when the war on drugs
meant state and federal prisons were
bursting at the seams. So many prisoners?
What do we do? Let corporate America
handle your prisons. We’ll take care
of everything. Save you a few bucks and skim a little
off the top. Businesses
running prisons? That sounds
a little fishy. (laughing)
Just kidding! I mean, hey, if it
saves money, right? (Adam)
And so the Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, was born. Okay, hold on.
You can’t just sell prisons like they’re cars or real estate
or hamburgers. Hmph! Then why don’t you
tell that to Tom Beasley. the co-founder of CCA
who once said… (man on PA)
CCA, can I take your order? I’ll have a number seven
with extra solitary cells, electric fence,
and small onion rings. Like to supermax that? Yeah, I’ll supermax it. And they rake in
a ton of scratch. Last year, CCA
took in $1.7 billion. Business is so good
it’s criminal. (laughter) Well, you know,
maybe it’s okay because they’re saving
the taxpayer money. Sorry! The sales pitch
was wrong. The data shows
that private prisons cost the taxpayers
just as much as regular prisons. And today, nearly one-fifth
of federal prisoners are held
in a for-profit facility. Okay, no– Ah, graffiti!
That’s an infraction. A beautiful one.
Are you Banksy? Oh, my gosh, I already
got an infraction. They must give out
a lot of these. Oh, yeah, that’s not
a coincidence. One study showed
that private prisons dole out twice as many
infractions as government prisons. Not having enough
infractions. That’s an infraction. These penalties
can lengthen your sentence, which earns the company
even more cash. Oh, so the more people
that are in prison, the more money
they make. Ooh, that’s dirty! Yep, that’s why
private prisons sneak occupancy clauses
into their contracts, which actually require states
to keep prisons full. Last year, a private prison
in Arizona didn’t make
their 97% capacity quota, so the state government
had to pay them a $3 million fine. Fines like that incentivize
cash-strapped states to keep people in prison
as long as possible. Your parole forms
are in order and you’ve been
a model prisoner, so we’re going to– (clears throat) Lock you back up. We really can’t afford
to pay another fine. That’s reprehensible. Look, not all prisons
are private prisons, but this one is,
so no, it’s purpose
isn’t to stop crime. It’s the dollar-dollar
bills, y’all! (chuckling)
Whoo! I can’t believe all this
has been happening and I didn’t even know. I mean, I never thought
about prison, like, at all. Hey, pulling back the curtain on our disturbing
business practices, that’s an infraction. Hey, that makes
three infractions. You’re gonna go
to solitary. Okay, that doesn’t
sound so bad. You know, peace and quiet,
do some meditating. No, solitary confinement is a cruel and
inhumane punishment that has no place
in modern society. Wait, what? Eh, we’ll tell you
about it after you get settled
in the hole. No, tell me now!

13 Replies to “Adam Ruins Everything – The Shocking Way Private Prisons Make Money”

  1. Private prisons I think could work. I'm not a fan of them, but if we paid them based on rehabilitation rates, pay them for each prisoner that has held a job or been otherwise law abiding for five years, I think you'd see these problems go away quite a bit. Job training, education systems, etc could be subsidized by the state, and would be considered an investment by the prison into a future payday when said prisoner gets a good job. Also wouldn't hurt getting rid of stupid laws like the three strikes law and other harsh punishments for petty, non-violent crime that originated from the War on Drugs. For the libertarians out there that think prisons should remain private, here's a way to do it that could maintain private ownership of prison facilities.

  2. All the "clerks" and "parole registrars" and jail-support people are profiting as well. It might be uncomfortable to point it out, but every nightmarish human trip through the "system" enriches all those people along the way. Every one of them.

  3. This is so true, A very good friend of mine was used as a guinea pig, and was framed to help a drug dealer bring meth into the state, my friend has no criminal record, has no infractions with the law, yet the judge automatically said 10yrs incarceration and a 1 million dollar fine. We hired 2 criminal justice attorneys, even in that case the judge still said he'd have to do 1 year incarceration and 1 year probation. Any which way we looked at it, my friend had to go to prison. So this fact on how the CCA profits on prison is true, why isn't cnn or 60 minutes or even world wide news investigators exposing this? Probably because the CCA and the state controls them as well.
    I am 100% sure people such as Adam does not fabricate their viral videos on how they tell the truth of red taped information, and how corrupted the U.S. Federal government, it's state government is. So if anything does happen to Adam shall he dissapeare from the face of the world we will all know that his viral videos are 100% accurate and true.
    Adam I hope you can come to Guam 1 day and expose how corrupted it's government system is. And how capital is gained by the higher power officials here.
    Keep on telling the truth, expose it and let the world know it. 👍👍👍

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