The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the largest private prison company in the world, runs 66 facilities in 19 states and Washington DC. They took in $1.7 Billion in 2010. They spend millions of dollars a year on lobbying for more contracts. This year their books will show the expense of four lobbyists representing their interests at the State House in Concord, New Hampshire.
While “Occupy New Hampshire” members are occupied with decisions about where to pitch their tents, big money corporations are working behind the scenes to take over state agencies and services. Today is the third meeting of a legislative study committee whose purpose is to develop a plan for privatizing the Department of Corrections. Under the direction of the governor, the Department is also preparing Requests for Proposals for construction and operation of new prisons. CCA wants a piece of the action.
The state’s Medicaid program, which has been run directly by the Department of Health and Human Services, is about to be outsourced to private insurance companies.
Another study committee is looking into collective bargaining for public employees, and based on the voting records of the committee members, strengthening workers’ rights is not on their agenda. In fact, one of the study committee members is sponsoring a bill whose title, “Prohibiting all public employees from participating in collective bargaining,” leaves little doubt where he stands.
While I understand the difficulty the “Occupy” movement has in reaching agreements on unified demands, I hope members will join efforts to keep New Hampshire from being occupied by those following the corporate agenda of privatization, de-regulation, and the disempowerment of workers.