Nebraska Lawmaker Wants to Ban 'Lock-up Quotas' for Private Prisons

| by Michael Allen

Nebraska State Sen. Sen. Amanda McGill (D) has introduced a bill that would ban the state government from guaranteeing payments to private prisons if their jail cells are not full.

These so-called "lock-up quotas" mean that taxpayers must pay for empty beds in corporate-owned prisons, notes In The Public Interest.

"Lock-up quotas” range between 80 and 100 percent occupancy, and appear in 65 percent of all private prison contracts.

McGill’s bill, LB1006, would ban these types of lucrative deals in all state contracts, including for-profit prison contracts.

The Journal Star notes that taxpayers are often told by politicians that outsourcing government services to corporations will save money, but it actually ends up costing more.

"Outsourcing means taxpayers cannot vote out executives who make decisions that hurt public health and safety," reports The Journal Star.

According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, there are more mentally-ill people in prisons today than in hospitals.

A study by the Children's Defense Fund says, "States spend about 2.8 times as much money per prisoner as per public school pupil."

Sources: In The Public Interest,, Journal Star, Treatment Advocacy Center, Children's Defense Fund