The for-profit prison industry in the United States is growing at a time when the inmate population is declining. Critics argue that corporate-run prisons pose more safety problems than public ones, saying the companies hire fewer guards and cut costs to make money. Lawsuits by inmates and civil rights groups allege that cost-cutting is leading to dangerous prison conditions and poor medical care. But the industry and its supporters say private prisons are as safe as government-run facilities and that privatization helps governments avoid overcrowding and save money. The Obama administration in 2016 began phasing out private federal prisons, but President Trump reversed course a year later. Meanwhile, companies are playing a greater role in the detention of undocumented immigrants, drawing criticism from civil rights ...

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