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Inside Private Prisons

November 20, 2017

Inside Private Prisons

Fact: More than 100,000 individuals in the US are held in private prisons and private immigration detention centers. These institutions are criticized for making money off mass incarceration―$5 billion every year―and have become a focus of the anti-mass incarceration movement. The Department of Justice under President Obama attempted to cut off private prisons, while DOJ under Trump has embraced these institutions.

Few journalists or scholars have seen these prisons firsthand―until now. Lauren-Brooke Eisen―senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice―launched of her new book, Inside Private Prisons, and reflected on her unprecedented access to our nation’s private penal system and what she uncovered about these corporate prisons. She was joined by Glenn Martin of JustLeadershipUSA and CNN's Laura Jarrett for the discussion. 

This program was produced by The Brennan Center for Justice in partnership with the NYU John Brademas Center, and hosted by NYU Washington, DC.


Meet the Panel

Lauren-Brooke Eisen

Glenn Martin

Laura Jarrett


Inside Private Prisons:

An American Dilemma in the Age of Mass Incarceration

Inside Private Prisons book cover

When the tough-on-crime politics of the 1980s overcrowded state prisons, private companies saw potential profit in building and operating correctional facilities. Today more than a hundred thousand of the 1.5 million incarcerated Americans are held in private prisons in twenty-nine states and federal corrections. Private prisons are criticized for making money off mass incarceration—to the tune of $5 billion in annual revenue.