Friday, February 3, 2012

Private Prisons

When you think of prisons in the United States you think mostly of State and Federal Government run facilities. Not many people realize that there is an uprising in the number of Private Prisons in the United States. Private Prisons are run by private companies instead of being run by the government. Private prison companies typically enter into contractual agreements with governments that commit prisoners and then pay a monthly rate for each prisoner they have in their facility. Private Prison’s usually only hold inmates who have been charged with minor nonviolent offenses.
There are many pros and cons to having private prisons in America. Cost is one major pro to having a private prison. The cost to run them is a lot cheaper than running a state prison. One reason it is cheaper is because those who work for private prisons are paid less money than a person who works for a state prison. Studies have also shown that retirement, health care and other benefits for workers are not as good in private prisons as they are in state prisons. By offering these types of benefits it saves the prison a lot of money. Officers also do not have to go through as much training to work in a private prison. They also cut costs by not offering as many rehabilitation or work programs for inmates. Another way they cut costs is to have meals delivered from other facilities. This cuts food costs down by almost 50%.
Another pro to having a private prison is it helps with the overcrowding issue that we have in our state prisons. If we take inmates from our state prisons and put them into a private prison then our issue of overcrowding decreases. Although this solves the problem for the state prison it actually causes an overcrowding problem within the private prisons.

A major problem that a lot of people have with private prisons is that they believe that profit and punishment should not be linked. The amount of money the private prison makes depends on how many inmates they are housing. To keep the money coming in a lot of private prisons do not allow inmates to get out early on “good time.”  
Another problem that is arising from these private prisons is the private prison industry is lobbying for harsher punishments for offenders. Harsher punishment means longer sentences and more inmates for the private prisons. Above there is a video that discusses a lot of issues that people have with the Private prison industry. 
As a criminal justice major I found this topic to be very interesting. I think that the idea of a private prison has some ethical issues attached to it. Is it really ethical for profit and punishment to be linked?



  1. You've touched on a very interesting topic. I do not think the issue of privatization of America's prisons will be going away anytime. I think the issue will become increasingly relevant in the years to come, as states look for ways to cut costs.
    Profit for punishment sounds a little shady to me as well but this is America! Business seems to trump ethics.

  2. I think that privatized prisons is a great idea since their is so much overcrowding in the prison systems today. I do think that their is a problem with these private prisons since they do not have many or no programs can cause a big issue. One major issue that I see is that their is no programs for these inmates to rehabilitate them. With this said they will never change their ways of thinking when they are let out of prison and will end back into this type of prison soon after their release.

    Another problem that I see with this is that the workers are being paid less for the job they are doing. This can cause the officers to not perform their jobs correctly i.e. cutting corners.

  3. I think that this whole idea is pretty sketchy. The privatization of corrections should not be allowed unless closely supervised. Who ensures these inmates rights, especially since the guards aren't trained as well. The cash flow can also be a problem because if that is what they are concerned with then what is to stop the inmates for paying off the guards or other administration for special treatment.

  4. I'm not really sure what to think about this topic. On one hand, it could help out and provide some relief for the government run prisons, and it would provide more jobs. But it would be very hard to monitor. I think it might have a little bit of a different atmosphere there. The guards aren't getting as much pay or benefits, so maybe they won't care enough to watch the prisoners as closely. I'm just not sure about these.