Louisiana's 'lockup quota' is among the highest in the nation
Louisiana's two for-profit prison contracts have what the study calls "a staggering 96 percent occupancy guarantee clause"
By Mike Hasten
The Town Talk
BATON ROUGE — A national survey has found Louisiana guarantees that private prisons operating in the state will have at least 96 percent occupancy and will be paid the full amount regardless of whether or not they house that many inmates.
A study by the group In the Public Interest points out what it calls “the shocking prevalence of contract language between private prison companies and state and local governments that either guarantee prison occupancy rates, or force taxpayers to pay for empty beds if the prison population falls due to lower crime rates or other factors.”
The report labels payment for nonexistent prisoners “low-crime taxes.”
Louisiana’s two for-profit prison contracts — at Winn Correctional Center near Winnfield and Allen Correctional Center near Kinder — have what the study calls “a staggering 96 percent occupancy guarantee clause,” but it is not the highest found in the study.
Arizona has three contracts that contain 100 percent occupancy guarantee clauses, while Oklahoma has three contracts with 98 percent guaranteed occupancy. Following Louisiana’s 96 percent is Virginia, which has one prison with guaranteed 95 percent occupancy.