How mass incarceration became ‘a business opportunity’ in America

Erwin Oropesa

This is part 1 of Yahoo Finance’s Illegal Tender podcast about the for-profit prison industry. Listen to the series here. 

Mass incarceration in the U.S. grew over decades as more politicians with tough-on-crime stances became elected to office and laws changed surrounding sentencing. 

In that environment, the private prison industry became a place to generate a lot of revenue.

“A lot of these criminal laws were changed with the political support of individuals who supported the private prison corporation because they saw a business opportunity,” Amy Fettig, executive director at The Sentencing Project, told Yahoo Finance’s Illegal Tender podcast. “They saw the incarceration, the denial of freedom of our fellow Americans, people in our community as a business opportunity.”

A boy carries cash to visit his mother at California Institute for Women state prison in Chino, California May 5, 2012. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

The U.S. has the most private prisons

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Majority of business owners support Trump over Biden: UBS

Erwin Oropesa

The presidential election is the top concern of business owners — and most of them want President Trump to win another term in the White House, according to a new survey from UBS.  

More than half – 53% – of business owners surveyed said they support Trump, while 47% said they support former Vice President Joe Biden.

The survey showed Washington is top of mind for business owners — 64% said the presidential election was their biggest concern, followed by politics, the national debt, COVID-19 and health care costs.  The biggest election issue for business owners is the economy, followed by COVID-19 management, job growth, health care and taxes.

Of those concerns, health care is the only issue on which business owners prefer Biden over Trump. Business owners prefer Trump on the economy, job growth and taxes. The group was split 50-50 over who would best manage the pandemic.


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Italy’s Business Elite Gets a Taste of Government Intervention

Erwin Oropesa

(Bloomberg) — Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte made it clear to the country’s corporate elite that he’ll be calling the shots more often in a pandemic-stricken economy.

Conte and cabinet members showed up in force over the weekend at a gathering of financial and company leaders on the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy. Meanwhile, many executives and investors stayed away or sent deputies as a surge in coronavirus cases put a damper on the event.

“At this moment, the state cannot just be a referee,” Economic Development Minister Stefano Patuanelli said at the Ambrosetti Forum in Cernobbio. “The great transformation of production arrangements must be directed by significant public governance that sets the guidelines.”

Conte’s response portends a partial reversal of a privatization drive promoted by Mario Draghi when he was the Treasury’s top civil servant in the early 1990s. Drawing often on Cassa Depositi e Prestiti SpA,

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