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No, Private Prisons Aren’t Doing Great Under Trump, Contrary To Elizabeth Warren’s Claims

During the first round of Democrat presidential debates in late June, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) slammed private prisons and called for their elimination.

Just before the debate, Warren released a plan to ban private prisons, saying the for-profit prisons were “exploitation, plain and simple.”
“Our criminal and immigration systems are tearing apart communities of color and devastating the poor, including children,” she said while announcing her plan. Days later at the debate, she reiterated this stance. She claimed at the debate that the Trump economy only benefited “a thinner and thinner slice at the top,” which the biggest beneficiaries being “people who want to invest in private prisons.” She also listed oil and pharmaceutical companies as doing well under the Trump economy.
But as my former employer The Washington Examiner noted in an editorial, private prisons aren’t succeeding under President Donald Trump. In fact, they’re not doing well at all — at least in the stock market:
The two most prominent private prison company stocks have plummeted — CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) is down about 25% since Trump's inauguration, and GEO Group is down about 20%. The five top exchange-traded fundsthat track the pharmaceutical industry (each one linked somewhere here) have all lagged the the [sic] S&P 500’s 31% return since Trump’s inauguration. Exxon-Mobiland Occidental Petroleum have lost value in the Trump era, and BP and Chevron have underperformed the market, as has ConocoPhillips.
Bank of America and Suntrust have also announced they would each stop financing for-profit prisons.
After Warren’s debate claims, CBS tried to provide support for Warren’s argument, saying Trump’s reversal of former President Barack Obama’s executive order reducing the use of private prisons led to “a boon for prison companies.” Their support for this comes from complete speculation. Trump’s 2019 budget didn’t increase the federal Bureau of Prison’s annual spending, but CBS found “some analysts” who “expect spending to shift to private prison companies.”
It also cited Trump’s budget request for $2.5 billion for detention centers holding illegal immigrants, which the outlet claimed is a “major revenue source for prison operators.”
Both of the private prison companies listed above — CoreCivic and GEO Group — released statements defending their detention facilities.
“Our company helps keep communities safe, enrolls thousands of inmates in re-entry programs that prepare them for life after prison and saves taxpayers millions," CoreCivic wrote. CBS noted the company highlighted a facility in Dilley, Texas, where migrants have access to “amenities including gyms, parks, a playroom and a library.”
GEO Group said its facilities are “highly rated by independent accreditation entities" and that their operating procedures haven’t changed since the Obama administration.
After claiming the companies were doing well under Trump, CBS said their “share prices fell after Warren’s announcement.” This is incredibly misleading. CoreCivic’s stocks cratered just before the 2016 election but began rising right after – still before the election. The stock returned to where it was before the crash around March of 2017 after Trump took office. It has been steadily declining since then. Yes, it took a tumble after Warren’s proposal, but the stock had been falling long before that and hasn’t reached its Obama-era peak of $42.10 a share in 2015. And it’s come nowhere near reaching its peak under former President Bill Clinton, when share prices were $147.29 in 1998.
The stock story is similar for GEO Group, whose stocks rose after a crash in late 2016 but have been declining since about May 2017.

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