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Crime Pays

With that notion, one company has found prison.

This story appears in the February 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The company: Houston-based Cornell Corrections Inc. is profiting from an enterprise many would deem criminal--building and operating prisons. Cornell builds and manages adult correctional facilities; it also provides an array of facilities for troubled youth.

The markets: Privately managed prisons are growing in popularity among local, state and federal agencies. According to Cornell, from 1990 to 1996, the number of beds in privately managed facilities grew at a rate of 34 percent to reach 85,201. This occurred during a time when the prison population overall was growing by only about 7.8 percent a year, reaching 1.6 million in 1996. Privately managed beds now account for nearly 5.2 percent of all prison beds.

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