Are you worried about privately held prisons, or getting arrested for smoking weed?
Competition breeds innovation and efficiency. I think privately held prisons aren?t a bad idea at all when the prison system is as overcrowded as it is. Minimum mandatory sentencing has virtually nothing to do with privately held prisons--it is intended to give judges a sliding scale of sentencing and to act as a deterrent for would-be criminals. It also expedites the deathly slow legal system. You extrapolating all this to a "big brother" scenario with privately held prison corporations (which corporations are they by the way?) is ridiculous. Do you even know the percentage of prisons that are privately held?
Do you know the difference between a prison and a jail?
Do you know what kind of planning, technology, and operations management goes into running a prison, and how difficult it is to make any sort of profit? You can't just say "we're a prison!," throw a bunch of dudes in a U-Store-It unit with some Hostess snack cakes and start collecting federal monies. I don't know if any of these corporations are even traded publicly, but it sure would take a lot of convincing to make me a shareholder.
I'm not saying that you're wrong, I'm just saying that you didn't really do your homework and you don't really know what you're talking about.