Private Prisons And Public Prisons

Decent Essays

The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), which is essentially the Enron of the private prison industry, has long touted private prisons as an alternative to government-owned prisons. Indeed, CCA has set forth three reasons justifying the creation of private prisons for federal inmates:
• Cost Effectiveness. Private prisons are less expensive to operate and will save the federal government millions of dollars.
• Safety. Private prisons are effectively protect inmates’ safety.
• Humane Treatment. Private prisons are modern facilities that provide humane treatment to inmates.
Studies have shown that private prisons achieve none of these goals, and the reason is simple: private prisons operate under a fundamentally different regulatory structure that alters the choices -- and motives – of its participants. Indeed, unlike their federal counterparts, private prisons operate in a market economy where maximizing profits is vital to sustainability and thus a driving factor in corporate decision-making. Under basic economic theory, when operational costs exceed current and future estimates, corporations must identify ways in which to reduce such costs and therefore increase profitability. This is precisely what happened in the private prison context. Corporations such as CCA often underestimate the cost of operating private prisons in a manner that would increase safety and treat inmates more humanely. As a result, operators of private prisons made the deliberate choice

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