The predatory corporate prison enterprise aims to privatize profits and socialize losses. This combination has led to a situation where correctional facilities have only one incentive: ensure that new bodies arrive as fast as possible, and keep them in a state of indentured servitude for as long as possible.
As you'll see in the infographic below, the bodies are indeed arriving quickly to fill the coffers of those who are reaping massive profit from caging as much of the public as they can get away with. Thirty-seven states have signed onto this system which promotes a dangerous mutually beneficial relationship between government and corporations. A closer look reveals that it is definitely not beneficial for ordinary citizens and the communities which house these prisons.
America already holds 25% of the world's prison population, with the number of these prisoners held in private prisons rising 20-fold in the last decade. As the economy declines, there are new opportunities presented by reintroducing debtors prisons, formally abolished in the early 1800s.
Perhaps more troubling is the heightened criminalization of children for behavior which previously was considered merely a nuisance, not something worthy of handcuffs and the big house. The trend is clearly toward making nearly every activity a potential prison-worthy crime.