iOS app Android app

Beyond Bars

The Biggest, Baddest Prison Profiteer of Them All

Jesse Lava | Posted 01.23.2014 | Business
Jesse Lava

Profiting off mass incarceration is a dirty business. When private prison company Corrections Corporation of America squanders taxpayer money and runs facilities rife with human rights abuses, it's dragging its own name through the mud.

When Did 'To Serve and Protect' Become 'To Seize and Profit'?

Jesse Lava | Posted 01.23.2014 | Crime
Jesse Lava

Under many civil asset forfeiture laws around the country, cops can take people's money and property without proving anyone guilty, or indeed without even making an arrest. The more they seize, the better off their departments are.

As Immigration Reform Comes Up Again, Watch This Private Prison Company

Jesse Lava | Posted 01.23.2014 | Politics
Jesse Lava

The country's biggest for-profit prison companies already pull in hundreds of millions of dollars a year locking up immigrants in federal custody. They stand to pull in even more money if the new laws generate lots of new prisoners.

Should It Cost Less to Get Out of Jail If You're Rich?

Jesse Lava | Posted 01.23.2014 | Crime
Jesse Lava

We shouldn't have two criminal justice systems -- one for the rich and one for the rest of us. The commercial bail industry needs to know we're watching.

If You Get Sick, Pray These Guys Don't Treat You (Video)

Jesse Lava | Posted 01.23.2014 | Politics
Jesse Lava

Corizon is just one of the many powerful companies getting rich off mass incarceration. As long as Corizon is motivated by its bottom line rather than the health of prisoners, there will always be a perverse incentive to not provide treatment.

Meet the Prison Phone Company Profiting Off Love (VIDEO)

Jesse Lava | Posted 01.23.2014 | Politics
Jesse Lava

Prisoners are often housed hundreds of miles from their families, making phone the only way to connect on a routine basis. Global Tel*Link's high rates allow the company to profiteer off this basic human need.

50 Years After MLK's Speech, This Is the New Dream

Jesse Lava | Posted 10.20.2013 | Black Voices
Jesse Lava

Next week, it will be 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. gave the "I Have a Dream" speech. He railed then against "the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination." Yet he could not have imagined that Jim Crow would soon be replaced with another oppressive system: mass incarceration.

What Orange Is the New Black Gets Right About the Prison System -- And What It Leaves Out

Jesse Lava | Posted 10.12.2013 | Entertainment
Jesse Lava

The show demonstrates a solid commitment to generating empathy for prisoners and exposing the systemic problems that plague criminal justice in the United States. There are, however, deep problems with the criminal justice system that Orange does not raise.

What Breaking Bad Reveals About The War On Drugs

Radley Balko | Posted 08.06.2013 | Politics

Sure, Breaking Bad is fiction. But the real drug war can often be darker, more twisted, more corrupting, and more violent than the show. Still, while ...

Allegedly Racist Judge Has a History of Saying Awful Stuff

Jesse Lava | Posted 08.06.2013 | Black Voices
Jesse Lava

If you were to make a list of things that a sitting judge should not believe, I suspect one item would be that some racial groups are inherently inclined to be guilty.

To Offset Disaster Relief, Curb the Drug War (VIDEO)

Jesse Lava | Posted 07.21.2013 | Crime
Jesse Lava

Policymakers hoping to find meaningful offsets to fund disaster aid will have look at: 1) Where there's a lot of money, 2) where the spending is unjustifiable, and 3) where the politics and public opinion are conducive to allowing cuts, since there are very few areas in which that's true.

WATCH: Would Putting Me in Prison Serve the Common Good?

Jim Wallis | Posted 07.09.2013 | Politics
Jim Wallis

Mass incarceration in our country is a problem, one that too often serves to line the pockets of for-profit prisons while tearing families apart and targeting people of color disproportionately.

What If It's Not the Prisoner Who Needs Forgiveness? (VIDEO)

Jesse Lava | Posted 06.24.2013 | Religion
Jesse Lava

If a vindictive, biased justice system is irreconcilable with the Gospel, what is a Christian to do? The answer is first to get outraged -- a perfectly Christian emotion if it next leads to action that helps the powerless in their struggle for justice.

Why is this university president afraid of the truth on private prisons?

Jesse Lava | Posted 04.30.2013 | Business
Jesse Lava

The debate over Florida Atlantic University's decision to name a football stadium after a notorious private prison company has descended into deception.

Did GEO Group Edit Its Wikipedia Page to Hide Its Past?

Jesse Lava | Posted 04.22.2013 | Business
Jesse Lava

Word came out yesterday that Florida Atlantic University had sold the naming rights to its new football stadium to the GEO Group, which is the second largest private prison company in America. It now appears that the GEO Group decided to give its Wikipedia page a facelift.

On One Issue, Two Empty Chairs

Jesse Lava | Posted 12.30.2012 | Crime
Jesse Lava

With the presidential debates now over and little more than a week to go before the election, it's clear that the vigorous back-and-forth between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will leave out one of the great issues of our time: mass incarceration.

Meet the Industry That Makes the Koch Brothers Look Poor (VIDEO)

Robert Greenwald and Jesse Lava | Posted 10.30.2012 | Politics
Robert Greenwald and Jesse Lava

The United States is paying top dollar for an incarceration system that's unfair and doesn't work. Fortunately, there are alternative approaches to public safety.