“No whining, no griping, pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” That’s how Susan Story describes the hard lessons she learned growing up in rural Alabama. Then why is the corporation she leads as chief executive officer, American Water, complaining about opposition to its plans in West Virginia?
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, whose family owns the Pilot Flying J chain of truck stops, has refused to release his tax returns since running and being elected in 2010. It wouldn’t matter so much if Haslam were your run-of-the-mill governor. But he’s the country’s richest politician, with a net worth of $2 billion.
Did you know that one speeding ticket in Kansas could land you in jail? That’s what happened to David Jackson in 2011 after he couldn’t afford a $100 fine for speeding. Collection had been outsourced to a private contractor, and his bill quickly ballooned to $2,200 with court costs, jail fines and the contractor’s extra fees.
Last Wednesday was a big day for In the Public Interest. We released one of our longest and most wide-ranging reports, How Privatization Is Increasing Inequality. The report describes how the privatization of public goods and services disproportionately impacts poor individuals and families, and people of color.
Transportation is the backbone of a thriving and sustainable economy. Therefore, a public transit system should be judged by how it treats those that need it most, especially people with disabilities and our most marginalized communities.
Eight years ago the world changed. The financial crisis kicked off a recession that left deep scars on the U.S. economy, including making it tougher for many cities and counties to pay for basic public goods like infrastructure and emergency services.
House Speaker Paul Ryan recently released a new “anti-poverty” plan that would only make it tougher for poor and working families to get by.
What do 82 public libraries, a Texas beef-processing company and a string of Pizza Huts across Tennessee and Florida have in common?
One thing I’ve learned from decades of fighting for the public good is that winning comes in different forms.
A recent audit found that First Transit, the contractor hired by the city to operate the D.C. bus system, is cutting corners on maintenance.
Today is Earth Day, and it’s sure to be historic. More than one hundred world leaders plan to sign the Paris Agreement, the first global pact that commits nearly every nation to take action on climate change.
Last Monday the U.S. Department of Justice announced a powerful new effort to stop local practices that unfairly target poor people by trapping them in “cycles of poverty that can be nearly impossible to escape.” Courts across the country are requiring people arrested with minor misdemeanor charges—like driving with a suspended license—to pay fines before […]
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education are shining a light on troubling conditions they uncovered in the state’s property services industry. Their new report, Race to the Bottom: How Low‐Road Subcontracting Affects Working Conditions in California’s Property Services Industry, was released last week. Women janitors and security guards […]
Last week, the country’s two largest private prison operators, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, released their annual financial reports. The numbers were what we’ve come to expect — staggering. Combined, the two publicly traded companies collected $361 million in profits last year. That’s profit — taxpayer money that could be going to […]
In the Public Interest is happy to be kicking off 2016 with good news. Pushed by students and workers, the University of California has announced it will divest from private prison companies such as Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group. This is yet another win for criminal justice reform—Columbia University divested from CCA last […]
It’s unusual for a private contractor to terminate its own contract, especially a contract for $1.2 billion. But that just happened in Florida. After two years of controversy, Corizon, America’s largest for-profit prison health care provider, just decided to end its care of 74,000 prisoners in the state. The company—which is owned by a private equity firm—says […]
In the Public Interest has made exciting progress over the past few years. Our team has worked incredibly hard, so I’d like to take a step back and share what we’ve been up to. Even I was surprised by how much we’ve accomplished. We get calls every week from organizations around the country asking for […]
Like many states in the “tough on crime” era, Minnesota is struggling to reduce overcrowding in its prisons and jails. For now, the state’s government is paying counties to house over 500 incarcerated people that its prisons can’t hold. Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the notorious private prison operator, says they have a long-term solution […]
You wouldn’t hand your laptop to a hacker, right? Well, the Senate could make a move just as foolish. They’ll soon vote on nominations to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors and the nominees include a longtime advocate for postal service privatization and a lobbyist for the payday lending industry. The Internet has […]
Two court orders and the most expensive wrongful death settlement in California history should be enough. But not for Corizon, a corrections health care company owned by a private equity firm. For seven months earlier this year, Mario Martinez, a prisoner in Corizon’s care at the Dublin, California Santa Rita Jail, suffered from asthma that […]
As the edge of summer burns into early autumn, students across the country are going back to school. Most are returning to friends and meeting teachers, but students at Illinois’ Barrington High School are arriving this year to signs that read, “Can’t live on $8.50,” and shouts of “Devuelvenos nuestros salarios!” (Give us back our […]
Last week, in a powerful affirmation of the common good, commissioners in Tennessee’s Johnson County unanimously opposed the privatization of the state prison within their county’s limits. A response to fears that the state government could soon outsource management of the Northeast State Correctional Complex, the resolution reads like a checklist of what democracy and public […]
This week, the American Correctional Association (ACA) will hold its annual conference in Indianapolis, where thousands of government corrections officials, including wardens, jail administrators and sheriffs, will attend workshops and connect with their peers from across the country. Workshops include best practices for successful reentry programs for released inmates and working in corrections across generations. […]
The problems are well documented. Northrop Grumman botched the upgrade to New York City’s 911 systems while billing the city $300,000 to $430,000 annually for each of their 137 consultants. A $132 million dollar contract to upgrade phones and Internet services for municipal agencies in Orange County, California is already $13 million over budget while municipal employees report repeated […]
Halloween is the time of year dedicated to scary stories, and in In the Public Interest report, “Out of Control,” there are 26 frightening and factual tales of how the push for government outsourcing is hurting taxpayers around the country. You will be horrified by the real-life examples of Americans tricked by privatization, from a […]
Introducing for-profit companies into America’s criminal justice system has been a bad deal for governments across the country. During the past several years, a movement opposed to profit incentives in our criminal justice system has grown. Private prison corporations such as Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group have come under increasing scrutiny and pressure […]
(Note: The following opinion piece was written by a single mother of two children who fears losing her job. For this reason her name has been withheld.) What does “Made in America” mean to you? For consumers, it means a quality product. For workers, it means a good paying job and an opportunity to achieve […]
In a scene right out of Orange Is the New Black, 1,000 inmates at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville, Ohio dumped their food in protest last week after maggots were found in the kitchen and dining areas. The prison’s food service program had been outsourced to the massive Aramark corporation. Watch this video […]
You can mail a letter anywhere in the domestic United States for just 49 cents. Think about that for a second. Your letter literally can travel thousands of miles – over mountains, across great lakes and through the desert – for less than the cost of a bag of M&M’s. But some want to outsource […]
“In states and cities across the country, lawmakers are expressing new skepticism about privatization, imposing new conditions on government contracting, and demanding more oversight.” — The Atlantic, 4/23/14 “Is privatization a magic wand? Is it always going to come in and save you money? No. You have to do this well. You have to do […]