A new study in this month's Prison Legal News shows that private prisons incarcerate a higher percentage of people of color than state-run prisons. (To prevent skewing the numbers, the authors excluded federal detention centers run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other high-immigration facilities.)

Prisoners of color in California: 75% in the public prisons, 89% in the private ones.

In Texas: 66% in public, 71% in private.

In Arizona: 60% in public, 65% in private.

From the study:

Our research indicates that although people of color are already overrepresented in public prisons relative to their share of state and national populations, they are further overrepresented by approximately 12 percent in state-contracted correctional facilities operated by for-profit prison firms.

So prisoners of color are being systematically routed to for-profit prisons. (The state of California, for example, makes it a policy to send prisoners with immigration issues to for-profit prisons, which has a much bigger impact on prisoners of color.) What does that mean?

Take it away, Dr. Lisa Wade of Occidental College:

Companies that house prisoners for profit have a perverse incentive to increase the prison population by passing more laws, policing more heavily, sentencing more harshly, and denying parole. Likewise, there’s no motivation to rehabilitate prisoners; doing so is expensive, cuts into their profits, and decreases the likelihood that any individual will be back in the prison system. Accordingly, state prisons are much more likely than private prisons to offer programs that help prisoners: psychological interventions, drug and alcohol counseling, coursework towards high school or college diplomas, job training, etc.

If prisoners of color are being systematically siphoned off to for-profit prisons and for-profit prisons are less likely to offer education and other programs, prisoners of color are being systematically denied those programs.

Any lawyers out there looking for a class-action discrimination lawsuit?