Privatization of Prisons
Private Prison, Inc.
America has been getting tougher on lawbreakers. This is something that the public long has been demanding. The problem it creates, however, is a shortage of prison capacity to hold the increased numbers of convicted criminals. This has led to: prison overcrowding, sometimes prompting court actions against penal systems; rapidly rising operational outlays; and taxpayer resistance to the cost of new prisons. A partial answer to the problems of prison overcrowding and high costs may be the "privatization" of prisons. Costs and overcrowding problems are the driving force behind the privatization phenomenon. As a national ...view middle of the document...
In 1985, CCA's first year to operate the jail, CCA saved Bay County over $700,000.
Economic Conditions of Privatizing Prisons Today
Now that one can see there is an opportunity to make money as a company in a way that helps everyone in America, i.e. saving taxpayers money, what are the economic conditions surrounding the prison system? The market structure is unique. Demand for prisons seems to be ever increasing. Nearly every prison in America is overcrowded and will continue to be so if new prisons are not built. We could help lessen this problem or prison shortages by supplying more prison space at a lower cost than federal prisons can. This market is special because demand for prisons is high, while supply of prisons is low. Thatâ€™s what makes this industry so appealing. We never have to worry about being thrown out the window or not having enough business. Our niche is that we are a substitute good for the federally run prison. As their costs go up, the more government will desire our services. Our laws ensure that we will have inmates. Technology wonâ€™t be a problem since most prisons have very basic amenities and havenâ€™t changed dramatically over the past years. Letâ€™s look at how the privatization of prisons will work at the state level first.
Basically, prison privatization means the transfer of prison functions from the government sector to the private sector. By using the private sector to build or manage prisons, many states believe that they can reduce costs. So far, most state correction agencies have used the private sector only to manage minimum-secure or non-secure "community" correction centers, such as juvenile institutions and halfway houses. To date over half the states, in the United States have passed legislation to allow for this form of prison privatization. In the state penal systems, privatization can take various forms in the case of prisons.
I. Contracting out services:
This is the most common form of prison privatization. Currently, 39 states hire private firms to provide such services as medical and mental health treatment, drug treatment, education, staff training, and vocational training and counseling.
II. Ownership and operation of prisons at state level
To date, private operation of correction centers has been limited to minimum-security facilities, such as halfway houses, juvenile homes, detention centers, and holding prisons for illegal aliens. Some 28 states allow private firms to operate such facilities. Several states are interested in extending private operation to maximum-security adult prisons. One such facility in St. Mary, Kentucky is owned and operated by U.S. Corrections Corporation. USCC has existed since 1986, and is the first private company to own and operate an adult state prison. USCC receives $25.35 per day per inmate for running the Kentucky state prison. CCA is the largest private correction organization in the country. CCA designs, constructs, finances, and...