It’s no secret that America has a catastrophic incarceration problem. We have a long history of incarcerating more people than any other country, the sentences typically affect minority populations the hardest, and there is a massive prison industrial complex of privately run prisons that earn government contracts while providing substandard care to the inmates.
Perhaps the most naked case of profiteering off of prisons comes from an Alabama sheriff who had taken the money meant for feeding inmates and used it to buy himself a high end beach house. Worse, he began to criminalize more behavior so he would have more prisoners that he could get money from. The Daily Show did a segment on it recently and mines it for laughs, but it also captures the frustration over the fact that everything the Sheriff had done was completely legal.