Cash for kids. Absolutely disgusting, but in a country where all the financial incentives are aligned toward criminal and immoral behavior, it’s hard to find anything surprising at his point. Think about this case and then think about the growing trend of private prisons in America, prisons that are incredibly being given favorable tax treatment. From the UK Independent:
An American judge known for his harsh and autocratic courtroom manner was jailed for 28 years for conspiring with private prisons to hand young offenders maximum sentences in return for kickbacks amounting to millions of dollars.
Mark Ciavarella Jnr was ordered to pay $1.2m (£770,000) in restitution after he was found to be a “figurehead” in the conspiracy that saw thousands of children unjustly punished in the name of profit in the case that became known as “kids for cash”.
Here’s a great idea. At a time when the debt of the country is exploding exponentially and we are running budget deficits that would be the envy of any banana republic, let’s give favorable tax treatment to for-profit prison companies. This is a growth industry that we should all support, who cares that these United States has 5% of the World’s Population, yet 25% of its Prisoners. May as well try to improve on that; just imagine how high we could get the prison population if we actually put a banker in jail? From Forbes:
In early January 2013, both Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group – the nation’s two largest private prison companies that control a combined 75 percent of the for-profit prison market in the United States – announced that they had each completed preliminary plans to convert their corporate structure to a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).
REITs are designed for companies that primarily invest in and generate revenue from real estate holdings, such as hotel chains; like other publicly-held corporations they trade on the stock market. There are special tax advantages for REITs, which generally pay no income tax. They also must distribute at least 90 percent of their income to shareholders in the form of dividends.
This article is from May, but wow what a crazy statistic. I guess there was just no room for Corzine…From The Economist:
Excessive incarceration is an American problem. The country has about 5% of the world’s population but almost 25% of its prisoners, with the world’s largest number of inmates and highest per capita rate of incarceration. California eagerly participated in this trend of locking up ever more people. During Mr Brown’s previous stint as governor in the 1970s the state switched to more inflexible sentencing. It then spent another two decades adding “tough-on-crime” laws that kept extending sentences even for minor crimes.
The resulting prison-building boom, and rapacious bargaining by the prison-guards union, meant that state penitentiaries became the fastest-growing major cost in the state budget. California’s 33 prisons and associated camps therefore bear no small responsibility for the state’s recurring budget crises, and the resultant crunch on school and university funding.