George Monbiot describes Britain's private prison industry - a system he says makes locking people up profitable:
In the two countries whose economies most resemble the UK’s - Germany
and France - the prison population has risen quite slowly. France has
96 inmates per 100,000 people, an increase of 14% since 1992. Germany
has 89 prisoners per 100,000: 25% more than in 1992 but 9% less than in
2001. But the UK now locks up 151 out of every 100,000 inhabitants: 73%
more than in 1992 and 20% more than in 2001(15). Yes our politicians
have barely come down from the trees, yes we are still governed out of
the offices of the Daily Mail, but it would be foolish to dismiss the
likely influence of the private prison industry.
This revolting trade in human lives creates a permanent incentive to
lock people up; not because prison works; not because it makes us
safer, but because it makes money. Privatisation appears to have locked
this country into mass imprisonment.