Which country leads the world in incarceration? Hint: You’ve been there.

The war on drugs does not seem to be working I think it is fair to say. Time for a new strategy. But wait. Prison can be very profitable. Don’t want to hurt a profitable industry in a recession.

So much money is there to be made in fact that last year CNBC did a special entitled Billions Behind Bars. There’s real investment potential in the business of locking people up.

One has to love this bit of copy from the show’s promo website:

“In many depressed areas, new prison complexes have revitalized the local economy. America’s prison system employs more than three-quarters of a million workers – that’s more than the auto manufacturing industry. Many small towns are trying to get in on the boom.”

“The boom,” they refer to it. Tell me this isn’t a dangerous development for our country.

And the prison industrial complex isn’t just profitable for the prison companies. It’s also profitable for those who oversee the system. Take for example the case of Stacia A. Hylton. After awarding many juicy contracts ($10s of millions)  to a company called GEO Group while she was at the US Marshals, Ms. Hylton was upon retirement quickly hired by GEO as a consultant for $112,500.

Then, after a brief time in the “private sector” Ms. Hylton rejoined the Marshals as it’s director. The highest ranking officer.

I’ll bet GEO Group sure is happy they hired Hylton as a consultant.