INSTITUTE INDEX: The shifting private-prison landscape in Southern states

CoreCivic's Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility near Tutwiler, Mississippi, opened in 2000 and was initially operated under contract with the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Since 2010, the facility has served as a county jail and has held prisoners from other states; it also recently entered a contract with the U.S. Marshals Service. Mississippi's troubled dealings with private prisons are the target of a federal investigation known as "Operation Mississippi Hustle" that's led to various corruption-related criminal charges. (Photo by WhisperToMe via Wikipedia.)

Of the total federal and state U.S. prison population of 1.5 million people, portion of prisoners incarcerated in private facilities: 1 in 12

Percent by which the U.S private-prison population increased between 2000 and 2016: 47

By 2016, number of U.S. states that along with the federal government were utilizing private prisons run by for-profit and nonprofit operators: 27

Of the 13 Southern states, number that utilize private prisons: 9*

Rank of Texas and Florida, respectively, among the first states nationwide to do so: 1, 2

Percent of Florida's juvenile prison facilities that are privately run today: 95

Of the eight states nationwide that stopped contracting with private prisons between 2000 and 2016 over concerns about safety and cost cutting, number in the South: 1**

Year in which Louisiana changed the classification of its contracted prison beds, reporting its private-prison population as zero for the first time during that period: 2016

Year in which North Carolina ended its primary private-prison contract over cost concerns, leaving just one private nonprofit facility in the state housing a few dozen women: 2000

Of the five states that started contracting with private prisons between 2000 and 2016, number in the South: 2***

Portion of private prisons nationwide run by the two largest private-prison companies, GEO Group and CoreCivic: over 1/2

Year in which Florida-based GEO Group signed a two-year contract with the Alabama Department of Corrections to provide training, drug treatment, and other resources for prisoners finishing their sentences and preparing for community reentry — a critical foothold for the company in a state that does not utilize private prisons: 2017

Between 2000 and 2016, amount GEO Group spent on state elections: over $5.8 million

Percent of that amount spent on elections in Florida, which was by far the top recipient of the company's state political contributions: 69

During the same period, amount Tennessee-based CoreCivic spent on state elections: almost $3.9 million

Rank of Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, respectively, among the states nationwide where the company spent the most on elections during that period: 2, 3, 4

On Aug. 6, number of people arrested while blockading the entrance to CoreCivic's Nashville headquarters in a protest over the company's prison and immigrant detention contracts: 20

Month in which Dream Defenders pushed the Florida Democratic Party to ban donations from private-prison firms, leading GEO Group to threaten the civil rights group with legal action: 7/2018

Number of congressional Democrats who, facing pressure over the companies' roles in immigrant detention, have pledged to refuse donations from private-prison firms: at least 8

Size of contribution that U.S. Rep. David Price, a North Carolina Democrat, returned to GEO Group earlier this year: $1,000

* Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
** Arkansas.
*** Alabama and South Carolina.

(Click on figure to go to source. Many of the numbers in this index come from "Capitalizing on Mass Incarceration: U.S. Growth in Private Prisons," a report released this month by The Sentencing Project.)