Incarceration has become a big business in the US, which is now home to the world's largest prison population. Amid a growing dialogue about mass incarceration, the dubious ethics (and horrible track records) of private prisons have generated widespread outrage.
But the privatization of prison facilities by for-profit corporations is just the tip of the iceberg. Every aspect of incarceration provides an opportunity for someone to make a buck. State and federal governments spend billions to run prisons, jails and detention centers. Each one is like a small city, requiring infrastructure, services and upkeep -- all of which can be outsourced, including: