Is Prison Privatization Really a Long Term Fix? Essay

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Prison Privatization is a term used for which local, state and federal correction facilities hire companies from the private sector to run prisons and provide prison-related services. Some private companies are contracted only to provide things such as medical care, counseling, food services, and maintenance within publicly owned jails and prisons. Today, more and more private companies are being contracted to not only design and build, but also to operate new jails and prisons on both the state and federal level. Why this trend towards privatization? The explosion of the prison population from tougher sentencing laws, baby boom, ‘War on Drugs’, “three strikes” sentencing, the rising costs of construction and maintenance for the correction …show more content…
(White, 2001) These private companies, in order to cut costs and maximize their profits, would shortcut on the food, clothing, health care and living quarters provided for the prisoners they were being paid to maintain. These unfortunate issues, although mostly eliminated by 1970’s through legislative, judicial and public involvement, still taint the public’s perception of privatization of our prisons. (Allen, et al., 2007)
The privatization of today’s prisons and the companies involved are much different than those depicted by the ‘chain gang’ and ‘Cool Hand Luke’ movies of the past. These private companies operate based on the contracts they signed with the local, state and federal governments. These contracts do provide measures or incentives to insure that the food, care, conditions and services provided are of quality and humane. (White, 2001) Since the local, state and federal governments have not been able to keep up with the increased prisoner population explosion, the rising construction and health costs, nor provide the necessary upkeep on the out-of-date and eroding current correction facilities, so they have turned to private companies to provide it all. (Duitsman, 1998) A total of 158 private prisons operate in over 30 states. Most fall in the South and Western states with Texas leading all states (43), followed by California (24), Florida (10), and Colorado (9). (Austin &
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