Very good article on front page of Wall Street Journal today (sorry, no access to their website) by Joseph T. Hallinan describing how the Bureau of Prisons committed to a guaranteed occupancy rate of 95% for Corrections Corp. of America's (CCA) California City facility (located about 120 miles northeast of Los Angeles).
CCA built the facility on spec, but a stall in California's prison population growth and resistance from unionized state prison guards kept the prison empty and almost ruined CCA.
The BOP's 95% occupancy rate is "an arrangement almost never included in state private-prison contracts, which typically base payment on the number of beds actually filled." For the California City facility, the federal government will "pay for 95% of the beds, whether it needs them or not"--great news for floundering CCA.
Hallinan spent the last decade researching the prison industrial complex and exploring his thesis that the prison industry replaced the Cold War industry in function, purpose, and form. He's author of "Going Up the River" and "Prison Nation," and worth checking out.
If full text of article appears, I will post a link here, or if someone comes across online somewhere, please post in comments.