New Correctional Contracts Library shows you what companies are profiting off of incarcerated people in your area

Database contains hundreds of contract documents to help advocates identify and combat the exploitation of incarcerated people and their families.

by Mike Wessler, July 6, 2022

Today, we launched the new Correctional Contracts Library, which contains documents that show how companies profit on the backs of incarcerated people and their families. Through our twenty years of work to expose and stop the abusive practices of private companies, we’ve amassed a collection of hundreds of documents, including contracts, bids, evaluations, and more. These documents provide a paper trail showing how for-profit companies work with jails and prisons to squeeze money out of people who can least afford it. Our collection is now publicly available through this new tool.

The Library includes documents related to phone service, tablets, electronic messaging, commissary, and more. We’ve organized them so you can search for records from a specific facility or filter documents by state, vendor, service, or type. And we’ve provided some notes and remarks about the documents to help users understand what they contain and where they came from.

Using this new resource:

  • Organizers can monitor when their local jail is scheduled to renegotiate its contracts for services and pressure it to secure the best deal for people that are behind bars;
  • Journalists can assess whether prisons and jails in their area are helping companies exploit incarcerated people and their families;
  • Researchers can track how the cottage industry of companies that profit off of incarceration is developing new ways to sap profits from people in prison and jail; and
  • Policymakers can examine contract terms and identify problematic practices that need to stop.

This new tool does not have every prison or jail contract document that exists. We’re sharing our records, but we know our collection isn’t exhaustive. If you don’t see the documents you’re looking for, we’ve put together a guide to help you submit your own public records request to get them.

If you have documents that you think should be in this library, you can send them to us or, if you have a lot of files, use this form to send us a message telling us what you have.

This new database is the latest addition to our Advocacy Toolkit. Through the Toolkit, we’re giving advocates and organizations access to the data, lessons, and resources we’ve honed in our twenty years of working to end mass incarceration in America.

One of our primary goals here at the Prison Policy Initiative is to help others to make change in their communities. The Correctional Contracts Library is the latest way that we’re opening the doors on our research and advocacy to empower the movement to end mass incarceration.

4 responses:

  1. premilla says:

    Thank you so much for this critical service – just the kind we desperately need.

    I have been wondering if we can work together to request COOP (Green America) to consider developing a supply chain that can bid for Prison/jail supply contracts.

    Example Working Assets and their phone service company — etc etc. Would appreciate your feed back on this matter.

    1. Mike Wessler says:

      Thank you for your kind words. That project sounds a bit outside of our field of expertise, but we hope that our information and resources are helpful if you pursue it.

  2. Thank you SO much for this service!! It’s going to take a little while to figure out, lol BUT this could expose a lot of things otherwise overlooked by the majority and made impossible to find for the few looking. This had to take a TON of work to put together & I hope I can use it to open many eyes. Thank you.

    1. Mike Wessler says:

      Thank you for your kind words! We’re glad to hear this tool is going to be helpful!

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