Donald Trump shocked America and the world on Wednesday morning with his unexpected presidential win, a win that has been excellent news for those in the business of running (and profiting from) America’s private prisons. While the world markets initially nosedived when it appeared that Donald Trump was going to clinch a presidential victory, the American markets ultimately surged on November 9, reports CNBC, ending the trading day up by over 1 percent, or nearly 257 points.
The biggest winner of the post-Donald Trump win stock market rally? Private prison stocks, with Corrections Corporation of America jumping 43.13 percent. In case you’re unaware, Corrections Corporation of America is among America’s biggest and richest private prison operating corporations. And they weren’t the only private prison company that soared on the news of a Donald Trump victory. GEO Group, another large private prison “stock group,” jumped over 20 percent.
When you translate those percentage gains to dollars, private prisons made over $1 billion as direct result of Donald Trump’s election night surprise, reports Fortune.
Well, Donald Trump’s win and Hillary Clinton’s loss.
Because Hillary Clinton’s loss as much as Donald Trump’s win sent a surge of energy and cash into America’s private prison industry. That’s because the former secretary of state had heavily targeted private prisons as part of her campaign platform. She had denounced the use of for-profit private prisons in America utterly, promising to shut them down if elected POTUS.
While in the midst of a contentious primary campaign last year, running against over a dozen political rivals including President-elect Donald Trump, Clinton took to social media to announce her stance on private prisons.
This time last year, Clinton was the overwhelming favorite to win the 2016 election, and her Twitter truth bomb regarding private prisons in the U.S. sent a massive shock wave through the controversial industry. Overnight, both Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group lost a substantial amount of value, 6 percent and 4 percent respectively.
For the duration of the election, private prison stocks took a continual beating. That downward spiral of the private prisons’ value was further buttressed in August by the Justice Department’s announcement that it would cease to use private prisons, claiming the conditions of many facilities have been largely deemed to be unsafe.
However, Donald Trump has a much different view of private prisons than his Democratic rival and the current Democratic administration, which could mean that the DOJ’s relationship with institution continues.
Donald Trump rousingly endorsed the private prison industry during a March interview, and his plans to massively deport undocumented immigrants may spawn an immediate demand for private prison facilities when he takes office in January.
“I do think we can do a lot of privatizations and private prisons. It seems to work a lot better.”
As for the private prison corporations that made an almost literal killing due to the election of Donald Trump, they may consider today’s profits a return on an investment.
As Mother Jones reported, GEO Group was involved in an unusual financial transaction in August. That’s when the private prison stock group donated a substantial amount of money to a pro-Donald Trump super PAC. The money, $150,000, was handed over to Rebuild America Now, which was created by a close, personal friend of Donald Trump.
Reportedly, $100,000 of the private prison stock group’s donation to the Donald Trump super PAC came one day after the Justice Department’s announcement that it planned to cut ties with private prisons. The other $50,000 was donated a week prior.
Private prisons in the United States have faced increasing scrutiny in recent months and years as many groups and individuals have likened them to institutions of modern slavery. Before Donald Trump’s surprise presidential win, things were looking fairly grim for the private prison industry in America.
As Global Research reports, the post-election Donald Trump private prison boon came amid questions regarding whether private prisons are big business or effectively legalized, modern-day slavery. The private prison industry is so controversial that it has drawn the scrutiny of human rights groups the world over. Indeed, at any given time in the United States, up to 2 million people are imprisoned.
Of those, the vast majority of inmates are Hispanic or African Americans. Most are forced to work during their prison stay, and that work is done for $0.25 per hour, and private prison companies make a veritable fortune off of prisoners’ work. If prisoners refuse to work, they can legally be locked away in solitary confinement. As California Prison Focus has written, “no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens.”
Of the roughly 2 million people incarcerated at any given time in America, roughly 620,000 are locked away in private prisons, a number that is only expected to grow and which may grow even faster under a President Donald Trump.
[Featured Image by John Moore/Getty Images]