Prisons

The prison industry in the United States is massive and growing. Since 1970, the number of incarcerated people in the U.S. has increased by 700 percent, to the point that the U.S. prison population is the largest in the world both per capita and in total numbers. As of 2019, there are an estimated 2.3 million people behind bars and 4.5 million people on probation or parole. The estimated cost of the U.S. mass incarceration system is $182 billion a year, with hundreds of private companies competing for government contracts.

The most visible and publicly debated corporate involvement in the prison industry is through private prisons, i.e. prisons that are owned, managed, or operated by private for-profit companies instead of by government agencies. As of 2019, an estimated 8.2 percent of people in U.S. federal and state prisons are incarcerated in private prisons, and nearly three-quarters of all people in immigration detention are held in privately-run facilities.

However, private prisons are just the tip of the iceberg for prison profiteering. Whether public or private, all prisons, jails, and immigration detention centers rely on for-profit companies for their operations, as nearly every aspect of the prison industry has been privatized to a certain degree. Therefore, our research into the prison industry covers the following areas of corporate involvement:

  • Incarceration and Detention Facilities:
  1. Facility Management
  2. Youth and Family Detention
  3. Private Facilities Internationally  - the only section that covers the prison industry outside the U.S.
  4. Private Prison Financing
  5. Transportation and Deportations
  6. Facility Surveillance and Security
  7. Prison Labor
  • Services in Facilities:
  1. Communication Services
  2. Food, Commissary, and other Goods
  3. Health Services
  4. Banking and Financial Services
  • Supervision and Monitoring:
  1. E-carceration
  2. Community Corrections
  3. Bail Bonds

While privatization is not the root cause of mass incarceration, the profit motive inherent in the prison industry has impacts for the entire system. The two largest private prison corporations, CoreCivic and GEO Group, spend substantial money on lobbying and campaign contributions to secure contracts and promote legislation that results in higher rates of incarceration and immigrant detention. Higher recidivism rates and longer periods of probation and parole are also in the best financial interest of these companies. As long as incarceration and other punishments are profitable, any effort to reduce the scope and impact of the criminal punishment system and end mass incarceration is likely to be undermined.

Our mapping of the private prison industry documents corporate involvement in the various aspects of the prison industry. The industry is comprised of hundreds of companies, many of which are small and privately-owned, and relatively few large, publicly-traded companies. Our database highlights and profiles the main publicly-traded companies in the industry. In addition, we hope to contribute to the larger movement to end mass incarceration by providing information on all profiteers, including the ones that are privately-owned.

The full list
Select private companies are listed below publicly-traded companies.
(!) symbol means this company is on our divestment list
Publicly-Traded Companies
USA

A multinational conglomerate that supplies raw materials to prison labor programs and operates in the prison healthcare industry. 3M used to operate electronic monitoring systems and make components for weapon systems.

A US healthcare company that has provided "community corrections" programs and previously incarcerated unaccompanied immigrant youth with mental or behavioral challenges.

A US air cargo and transportation company, which operates charter deportation flights for the US government

The world’s largest online retailer and cloud storage provider. It’s the largest provider of cloud computing for US immigration authorities as well as the Israeli government and military, and also supports prison and police surveillance.

A US-based provider of food service, facility management services, and uniforms globally. Provides food and other logistical services to prisons and immigration detention facilities and uses forced prison labor.

A US multinational company that manufactures food for humans, pets, and livestock. It purchases raw goods from prison farms.

A US manufacturer of tasers, body and car cameras, drones, and accompanying software that provides these products to US immigration authorities, prisons, and law enforcement agencies.

A US-based conglomerate holding company and investment firm. Its subsidiary Shaw Industries uses prison labor. Other subsidiaries provide equipment, utilities, and uniforms to prisons and jails.

The owner of Safariland and Defense Technology, the largest US manufacturer of tear gas weapons for law enforcement. Its chemical and other crowd-control weapons are used by US border patrol, prison authorities, and police departments across the US and around the world against civilian protesters.

The largest egg producer in the US. It uses prison labor.

France

A French IT and engineering firm, which helps US immigration authorities optimize their incarceration and deportations

A medical supply company that provides pharmaceuticals to prisons, including for executions. Its subsidiary Tradex provides materials for use in prison labor programs.

An Israeli digital intelligence firm that supplies law enforcement agencies, prison authorities, border security agencies, and repressive regimes around the world with hacking technologies.

A US-based producer of surveillance tools that provides video management systems for monitoring prisons, jails, and the US-Mexico border.

A Swiss chocolate and confectionery company. Its American subsidiary Russell Stover uses prison labor.

A US-based retail and commercial banking company. It has been one of the main financial backers of private prison company CoreCivic.

A manufacturer of firearms and ammunition for military, law enforcement, and commercial markets in the U.S., Israel, and around the world.

The world’s largest private prison company. It owns and operates prisons and jails, including immigration jails and “community corrections” centers, and uses forced prison labor. It also provides e-carceration technologies, transportation, and other services as part of the criminal punishment system.

One of the largest retailers in the US. It banned the use of all forms of prison labor in its supply chain in 2018 but continues to sell products made using such labor.

A US health insurer, formerly known as Anthem, that provides health services to youth jails and criminal legal programs.

A Canadian insurance and investment holding company. Its subsidiary Crum & Forster is the largest bail insurance company in the US.

A US-based banking and financial services company. It has been one of the main financial backers of private prison company CoreCivic.

A US-based vehicle manufacturer that provides commercial and specialized vehicles to US law enforcement and immigration authorities and to Israeli occupation authorities

A US-based vehicle manufacturer that provides commercial and specialized vehicles to law enforcement and immigration authorities. Its trucks are also used by the Israeli military and border police to patrol the Gaza wall and for other military occupation-related purposes.

A UK-based banking and financial services company. It has been a major financier of private prison companies CoreCivic and GEO Group.

The world's largest fast-food chain. It uses incarcerated labor at its restaurants and has prison labor in its supply chain.

A Swedish data extraction firm that provides digital forensics tools to law enforcement and immigration authorities

One of the world’s largest IT companies. Provides tools and infrastructure used by the US government to surveil immigrant communities and to manage prisons. Divested AnyVision for surveilling Palestinians but keeps providing services to the Israeli police.

A British facility management, consultancy, and product management company that operates private prisons and immigration detention centers in the UK.

A US healthcare corporation, formerly known as Providence Service, that provides medical transportation to prisons.

A US-based communications and surveillance company. Leading supplier of license plate recognition software. Sells surveillance products for use at US prisons, at the US-Mexico Border, and by US police agencies. Its equipment is installed in illegal settlements and in the separation wall in the West Bank and is used by the Israeli military, police, and prison service.

An Israeli surveillance company, specializing in phone, video, and internet monitoring. Its audio and video indexing and mining software Nexidia is used by US prisons.

A Japanese financial services holding company. It has provided financing to private prison and immigrant detention company CoreCivic through two of its subsidiaries, Nomura Corporate Funding Americas and Nomura Securities International.

A US-based banking company. It has been a major financier of private prison company CoreCivic.

A US-based banking and financial services company. It has been a major financier of private prison companies CoreCivic and GEO Group.

One of the world's largest fast-food restaurant companies. It uses prison labor at its restaurants and has prison labor in its supply chain. 

A US-based manufacturer of semiconductor, computing network, and connectivity products. Its Canadian subsidiary, Sierra Wireless, owns Numerex, which manufactures electronic monitoring and surveillance tools used to locate and track individuals for pretrial adjudication, probation, parole, and immigration control.

A British multinational outsourcing company that operates prisons and immigration jails in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

A French multinational food services and facilities management company. Operates prisons in Australia and the UK.

A US manufacturer of firearms and tactical gear. It sells its products to law enforcement, the US military, and foreign militaries, including the Israeli military, which uses Ruger weapons target Palestinian civilians.

An Israeli provider of electronic monitoring, cybersecurity, and digital identity products. Its subsidiary Leaders in Community Alternatives sells e-carceration tools and operates "community corrections" programs in the US and internationally.

A US-based banking and financial services company. It has been a major financier of private prison company CoreCivic.

A US retail company that sells household items, apparel, home furnishings, food, and other merchandise. It sells products that are produced using prison labor.

A US workforce housing company that owns and partially operates two of the largest US immigration jails.

The world’s second-largest private prison company. It owns and operates prisons and jails, including immigration jails and “community corrections” centers, and uses forced prison labor. It also provides e-carceration technologies, transportation, and other services as part of the criminal punishment system.

 

A US retail company that operates supermarkets across the country. It sells products that are produced using prison labor.

A US holding company that owns Wendy's, one of the world's largest fast-food chains. It uses incarcerated labor.

A US financial services company that facilitates money trasfers to people in prisons.

A US electronic monitoring technologies and equipment company. Provides law enforcement agencies with tracking and surveillance equipment for people on probation or parole.

One of the largest food manufacturing companies in the world. It uses incarcerated labor at its factories and has prison labor in its supply chain.

An Australian infrastructure company whose subsidiary Broadspectrum operates a private prison in Australia through a joint venture.

A US-based manufacturer and supplier of educational furniture and equipment that uses prison labor

The largest retailer in the world. It sells products that are made using prison labor.

One of the world's largest fast-food restaurant companies. It's subsidiary KFC uses prison labor.

Private Companies

AARDVARK Tactical sells military-grade tactical equipment, including armor, TASERs, crowd control weapons, acoustic hailing devices, robots, personal protective products, personnel/vehicle search equipment, and vehicle stopping systems, to law enforcement, prison, and immigration agencies.

Adamson Police Products sells military-grade tactical equipment, including firearms, ammunition, less-lethal munitions, body armor, robots, and thermal imaging tools, to US police departments and prison agencies.

California

A California-based bail bond insurance company—comprised of Allegheny Casualty, Associated Bond, and International Fidelity—that underwrites jail and immigration bonds. It operates across all 50 US states and Puerto Rico.

Liechtenstein

A Liechtenstein-based holding company that owns agricultural businesses. Its subsidiary Louis Dreyfus Company—a producer of food and beverages, pet food, pharmaceuticals, and other products—purchases raw goods from prison farms.

A private US-based investment management company. As of 2022, it serves as the administrative agent of CoreCivic's and GEO Group's loans.

An Indiana-based property and casualty insurance company that specializes in underwriting immigration and jail bonds. It operates in 46 US states.

A private prison company, owned by CoreCivic. Owns and manages private halfway houses in Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming.

A Florida-based financial holding company whose bail bond surety subsidiary Bankers Surety provides surety services for immigration and jail bonds. It operates in over 40 US states.

A Wisconsin-based cheese manufacturer. It purchases surplus raw milk from a Wisconsin prison farm.

Missouri

A global agribusiness and food company. Its North American subsidiary purchases raw goods from prison farms.

A Minnesota-based company that produces food and beverages, pet food, pharmaceuticals, and other products. The largest private company in the US, it uses prison labor at some of its poultry processing plants and purchases raw goods from prison farms.

A Louisiana-based agricultural company that primarily operates grain and soybean processing facilities. The company's subsidiary Consolidated Grain and Barge Co. has purchased millions of dollars' worth of raw goods from prison labor programs.

Louisiana

A Louisiana-based prison communications company that provides phones, video "visitation" technology, messaging systems, and other products to US prisons, jails, and police agencies. As of 2021, the company served US prisons and jails responsible for incarcerating over 24,000 people.

A Kentucky-based prison communications company that provides phones, texting and video "visitation" services, tablets, kiosks, vending machines, and other products to 320 prisons and jails in the US. It is the fifth-largest prison telecom company in the US as of 2021.

Pennsylvania

Combined Systems Inc provides less-lethal weapons, including tear gas, and other equipment under its Combined Tactical Systems (CTS) brand to military forces and law enforcement agencies around the world.

A Texas-based prison communications company that provides phone and video "visitation" technology, tablets, and texting devices to US prisons and jails.

A Lousiana-based prison communications company that provides phones, video "visitation" services, kiosks, tablets, commissary ordering systems, and other products to US prisons and jails responsible for incarcerating over 31,000 people as of 2021.

A Nevada-based communications company that provides calling services, software, and other products to US prisons and jails.

A Kansas-based cooperative that sells dairy products under more than 35 brands. It has a "member dairy" at a prison and previously purchased millions of dollars' worth of raw milk from prison labor programs in Colorado and South Carolina.

Nevada

A Nevada-based prison communications company that provides telecommunications equipment, video "visitation" systems, email services, and other products to jails across the US.

A subsidiary of Allied Universal, the world's largest private security company. It runs private prisons in Australia and the UK and deports immigrants in the US. It divested from all of its activities with the Israeli government following a global campaign.

A Canadian private security firm that operates across 45 countries. In addition to providing security guards to government, commercial, and nonprofit clients, it sells security and surveillance equipment and offers armored car, police support, facility management, and other security-related services.

An Arizona-based egg producer that claims to be the largest egg company in the Southwest. It has used prison labor for decades and supplies many US grocery stores, including Costco, Kroger, Target, and Walmart.

Missouri

A Missouri-based prison communications company that provides phone and messaging services, video "visitation" technology, kiosks, tablets, and other products to 159 prisons and jails across 31 US states.

Owned by prison services conglomerate TKC Holdings, ICSolutions is the third-largest prison communications provider in the US, controlling approximately 9% of the market as of 2021. The company provides over 230 prisons and jails nationwide with telephone, voicemail, email, and video "visitation" services; cell phone detection and control systems; and other products.

Illinois

An Illinois-based poultry processor that sells products under the Koch Foods and Oven Cravers brands. It uses prison labor at its plants, where at least one incarcerated worker has been killed by machinery. In 2023, incarcerated individuals in Alabama sued Koch Foods and other companies for participating in an alleged forced prison labor scheme.

LC Action Police Supply sells tactical weapons and equipment, including firearms, pepper spray, impact and chemical munitions, flashbangs, sting ball grenades, restraints, batons, and uniforms, to US police, prison, and military agencies.

A Kentucky-based property and casualty insurance company that specializes in underwriting jail and immigration bail bonds. It operates across all 50 US states. 

Texas

Lexipol is a privately-owned company that sells policy manuals, online training courses, officer "wellness resources," and other products to police departments throughout the US.

California

A California-based almond processor. It purchases raw goods from prison labor programs.

A Texas-based prison communications company that provides messaging, video "visitation," voice biometric, call data mining, and other products to prisons, jails, and police departments across 42 US states, the Bahamas, Japan, and South Korea. It is the fourth-largest prison telecom company in the US as of 2021.

A North Carolina–based prison communications company that provides phones, video "visitation" and messaging services, tablets, and other products to prisons and jails—responsible for incarcerating just over 20,000 people as of 2021—across the southeastern US.

A New Jersey–based prison communications company that provides phone and video "visitation" technology, tablets, messaging and commissary systems, and other products to US prisons and jails.

North Dakota

A North Dakota–based prison communications company that provides phone and texting services, video "visitation" technology, and other products to over 160 prisons and jails across Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

The largest prison communications company in the US, controlling approximately 42% of the market as of 2021. Along with its subsidiary JPay, it provides phone, video "visitation," e-messaging, and other communication systems to over 3,400 US prisons and jails. It also serves as a customer-facing partner for prison telecom competitors that provide only backend telecom infrastructure.

A Florida-based prison communications company that provides phones, tablets, kiosks, video "visitation" services, mail scanning technology, and other products to approximately 150 prisons and jails in more than 25 states nationwide.

A Wisconsin-based communications company that provides messaging and video "visitation" technology, commissary kiosks, and other products to US jails.

United Tactical Systems sells PepperBall projectiles, launchers, and related accessories to police, prison, and immigration authorities around the world.

Formerly Global Tel*Link (GTL), ViaPath Technologies is the second-largest prison communications company in the US, controlling approximately 37% of the market as of 2021. It provides phone and video "visitation" services, tablets, kiosks, and other products to nearly 2,000 prisons and jails across all 50 US states and serves as a customer-facing partner for prison telecom competitors that provide only backend telecom infrastructure. It also operates in the "community corrections" industry and, in 2022, launched an expanded "reentry services" program that includes vocational training, career planning, substance use and mental health treatment, and other so-called treatment-oriented programs.