Here's the deal. First, Bushco builds prisons-for-profit creating a "New Industry".
Then, to complete the capitalist circle, "customers" have to be "created" for the New Industry. And who are these "customers"? Well, we can't create more actual criminals than already exist. But we can create new laws and legal snafus that "snare" customers into these awaiting "detention centers". Presumably, if they continue on their current path, they will one day be called "Border Recovery & Retention Processing Facilities." The keyword "border" clueing in the cognoscenti that this is an immigration issue. Ah yes! That's the perfect "customer base" - non-citizens!
According to NPR:
The immigration crackdown of recent years has been possible, in part, because the Bush administration has greatly expanded its detention space. This is set to continue in next year's budget, with new centers planned in several states. But some are meeting local resistance.
So in these economically recessed times, the prison business is booming! Or is it a bubble?? Is there too much space? Note that immigration has slowed down, due to draconian border-control techniques and that clincher, the criminalization of migration. Yes, that human tendency that brought Asians to the Americas, and Africans to Europe, and basically assisted homo sapiens' survivability by mixing up the gene pool - migration - is now a criminal act in the United States. Unless one has "proper documentation".
Since the latter is a bureaucratic nightmare involving lots of money, migrants are easy targets. So those empty prisons CAN be filled - with massive arrests of "illegal aliens" - and what a great title that is! Problem is - it begs the issue of human rights. Something Republicans hate.
It's a typical Republican industry really. It's xenophobic: they're not Americans! It's corporate-friendly: the prison business is Big Business. It's abusive of human rights: no bleeding hearts! It's heavy-handed security: lock 'em up now! It's all about greed: let them make money out of punishment! It's anti-government: let's privatize justice! And above all, it's useless, fantasy-based: we don't really need these prisons.
And the sad part is, it's still going on. When are we going to stop being pushovers to losers?