Inside Private Prisons

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. Join Lauren-Brooke Eisen―senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice―for the launch of her new book, Inside Private Prisons, as she reflects on her unprecedented access to our nation’s private penal system and what she’s uncovered about these corporate prisons.

Conversation will be moderated by Nicole M. Austin-Hillery, Brennan Center Director and Counsel, and include additional guests (TBA). This program is produced by The Brennan Center for Justice in partnership with the NYU John Brademas Center, and hosted by NYU Washington, DC.

Meet the Author

Lauren-Brooke Eisen

Lauren-Brooke "L.B." Eisen


Lauren-Brooke Eisen is Senior Counsel in the Brennan Center’s Justice Program where she focuses on improving the criminal justice process through legal reforms, specifically how the criminal justice system is funded. 

Meet the Moderator

Nicole Austin Hillery

Nicole Austin-Hillery


Nicole Austin-Hillery is the first Director and Counsel of The Brennan Center’s Washington, D.C. office which she opened in March 2008.

Inside Private Prisons:

An American Dilemma in the Age of Mass Incarceration

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.

Inside Private Prisons book cover