Business is booming for private prison operators these days. While crime rates have remained fairly steady over the past 20 years, the number of people behind bars in the United States has tripled to 1.63 million, according to the Justice Department. The cost of building and operating prisons has jumped from $6.8 billion in 1980 to $30 billion today. Spending on corrections at the state level has increased faster than any other category of public spending, and an increasing proportion of this money goes to private companies. The article focuses especially on a private prison in Lockhart, Texas.
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