Case | HBS Case Collection | March 2010 (Revised December 2010)

The Market for Prisoners: Business, Crime and Punishment in the "American Dream"

by Rafael M. Di Tella and Laura Winig

Abstract

In 2010, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the largest private prison operator in the U.S., was considering expansion options. The company's largest customers, federal and state governments, were under economic pressure to reduce the incarceration rate and lower operating costs, potentially jeopardizing CCA's profits. Should CCA follow its competitor's footsteps and expand overseas? Or could it count on an ever-increasing population of U.S. prisoners to fuel continued growth?

Keywords: For-Profit Firms; Crime and Corruption; Profit; Law Enforcement; Growth and Development Strategy; Demand and Consumers; Business and Government Relations; Competitive Strategy; Expansion; United States;

Citation:

Di Tella, Rafael M., and Laura Winig. The Market for Prisoners: Business, Crime and Punishment in the "American Dream". Harvard Business School Case 710-042, March 2010. (Revised December 2010.)