|Profiting from prison|
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
A handful of American businesses have their fingers in almost every aspect of prison life, raking in billions of dollars every year for products and services — often with little oversight, Stef and Dan write.
The big picture: Taxpayers, incarcerated people and their families spend around $85 billion a year on public and private correction facilities, bail and prison services, according to the Prison Policy Initiative.
Here's how they make money:
📞 Phone calls
🚑 Medical services
The largest private provider of medical services to prisons is believed to be Corizon Health, operating in 220 facilities in 17 states and owned by a New York City hedge fund.
🍔 Food services
Two companies — Aramark and Trinity Services — provide meals in about 800 state and local facilities.
🚗 Transportation services
Tennessee-based Prisoner Transportation Services is the largest provider of transportation for jails and prisons.
👕 Clothes, toiletries, etc.
Incarcerated people and their families spend an estimated $1.6 billion every year on commissary items such as toiletries, clothes and games.
What's next: With bipartisan attention focused on fighting high recidivism rates, for-profit prison companies are expanding their businesses beyond prison walls.