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The population of private prisons in the United States increased 47 percent over the last 20 years, although recent years have seen a modest decline.

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Privatized Incarceration

Alexandria senator leads fight against profiting from prisoners

Housing inmates in Virginia prisons costs the state about $70 a day for each inmate. But the private sector can do it a lot cheaper, about $50 a day. Lawmakers are about to debate whether that's a savings they can afford.

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