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Private prisons are a $5 billion industry that employs more than 33,000 people, per the market research firm IBISWorld. Here's where they're most prevalent:

Expand chart

Note: States with no private prison population are as of December 31, 2015; Data was not available for Nevada, Oregon and Vermont; Data: Bureau of Justice Statistics; Chart: Chris Canipe / Axios

Why it matters: The Obama Justice Department pushed to end the federal government's use of private prisons. But the Trump administration's decision to rescind the order has led the industry to hope for a resurgence, though some states like New York, Iowa and Illinois, have ended their use for state prisoners.

Key takeaways:

  • In 2015, 126,272 people — or about 8% of the country's prison population — were housed in private facilities.
  • The states with highest shares of inmates in private prisons were New Mexico (42.2%) and Montana (40.4%).
  • Texas alone housed 14,293 inmates in private prisons.
  • Per IBISWorld, the private prison industry has been growing at a rate of about 1% per year since 2012.
  • If a state has a private prison population of zero, that does not necessarily mean that the state does not have such facilities, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The data simply indicates that no prisoners were held in private prisons at the end of the year in 2015.

Go deeper

Texas AG sues Biden administration over deportation freeze

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to members of the media in 2016. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration in federal district court over its 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants, and he's asking for a temporary restraining order.

Between the lines: The freeze went into effect Friday, temporarily halting most immigration enforcement in the U.S. In the lawsuit, Paxton claims the move "violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas" and the Department of Homeland Security.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Podcasts

Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck

President Biden has said that getting Americans vaccinated for COVID-19 is his administration’s top priority given an initial rollout plagued by organizational, logistical and technical glitches.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the bottlenecks and how to unclog them with Carbon Health chief executive Eren Bali, whose company recently began helping to manage vaccinations in Los Angeles.