USA: Louisiana, Prisons of shame
Louisiana holds the world record for rate of incarceration – 10 times higher than in Germany, and three times higher than Iran. This unenviable record is due to a particularity of the southern state: in Louisiana, the majority of prisons are privatized and run by sheriffs. They earn $24 per prisoner, per day, so if the number of inmates falls, the revenue goes down with it. These “parish prisons,” as they are known, are engaged in a race to snap up prisoners, who are now seen as business opportunities.
Conditions in these jails are deplorable: up to 1,500 inmates are crammed into dormitories designed for 200 people. There are fewer and fewer staff, as networks of cameras allow a single guard to monitor the behavior of large numbers of prisoners for even greater profitability.