The past and present roles of immigration policy drive political, economic, and cultural dynamics in the formation of prison privatization. While inaugurated by President Nixon, succeeding administrations have continued to augment “tough on crime” strategies. The Reagan administration’s addition to the strategy was the infamous expansion of the use of private prisons to incarcerate individuals from at-risk communities, such as low-income minority neighborhoods. Often forgotten is that the groundwork for the development of private prisons was laid by immigration.
Guatemala places in the top ten among the most overcrowded prison systems in the world. A lack of infrastructure and financial corruption has left Guatemala in this situation. The economy of Guatemala correlates with this poorly maintained structure and system of prisons. A contributing factor to Guatemalan prison overpopulation is likely overpopulation within the country as well.