Feel Depression Coming On? We've Got Stocks for You
Shares of the nation's largest private jailer have tripled in value over the last three years, busting out thanks to a severe space crunch in state and federal prisons, which simply haven't kept up with all the get-tough-on-crime sentencing guidelines.
Corrections Corp. had occupancy rates the Hiltons of the world can only envy even before the recent crackdown on illegal immigration, and before Gov. Terminator ordered the inmates from California's overstuffed pens shipped against their will to private facilities out of state. That order has now been suspended by a court, without much of an apparent effect on Corrections Corp. shares.
Meanwhile, a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts estimates that the state and federal prison population will swell 13% over the next five years, triple the national growth rate, at a potential cost of $27.5 billion to those on the other side of the bars. Fortunately, Corrections Corp. will be there to charge the going rate whenever the states are reminded that they've sentenced themselves to a perpetual search for empty prison cots. As it is, the West is drowning in methamphetamines, and while the crime rate nationwide hits longtime lows in 2005, violent crime in the bigger cities has since shot up.