Nearly two-thirds of private prison contracts mandate that state and local governments maintain a certain occupancy rate – usually 90 percent – or require taxpayers to pay for empty beds.
Sen. Marco Rubio is one of the biggest beneficiaries.
Several industries have become notorious for the millions they spend on influencing legislation and getting friendly candidates into office: Big Oil, Big Pharma and the gun lobby among them. But one has managed to quickly build influence with comparatively little scrutiny: Private prisons. The two largest for-profit prison companies in the United States – GEO and Corrections Corporation of America – and their associates have funneled more than $10 million to candidates since 1989 and have spent nearly $25 million on lobbying efforts.
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