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Privatized Prisons in the US - Research Paper Example

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Instructor name Date Privatized Prisons in the US Prisons in the United States are plagued by serious problems related to over-crowding such as violence, sexual assault, drugs and poor sanitation. State-run prison systems experience similar problems that other public-sector institutions face due to lack of competition: high costs, poor quality service and inadequate supplies…
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Privatized Prisons in the US
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Download file to see previous pages This discussion will look into the advantages and disadvantages regarding both systems. The private prison experiment has lasted nearly three decades in the U.S., long enough to make conclusions about the effectiveness and overall impact on state and local governments. Privatized prisons have experienced dynamic growth in recent years but the concept, at least in part, has been around for a long time. During the 1800’s, some states entered into contracts with private groups to lease inmate labor. Leasing prisoners occurred on a fairly routine basis but the system and the inmates, as might be expected, were subject to widespread abuses. Because of this, the prisoner lease system came to an end in 1920’s during the Progressive Era. Until recently the fast growth in the prison and jail populations generated extraordinary opportunities for entrepreneurs to own and operate prisons beginning in the 1980s. The concept of privatization became a topic of public discussion in the mid-1980s, when the newly formed Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) proposed to the State of Tennessee’s to operate its entire prison system. The State paid CCA $250 million dollars on a 99-year deal. In return, CCA would lodge the state’s prisoners for an annually negotiated per-inmate payment. In addition, CCA would insure that the prisons it operated would meet the criterion establish by the same federal judge who had earlier determined that the state’s prison system violated of the U.S. Constitution due to the sub-standard conditions of confinement. (McDonald, et al. 1998) CCA’s relationship with Tennessee started the privatization boom that spread across the nation. Other states were experiencing similar issues with overcrowding and the problems associated with it therefore happy to hand the operation of prisons over to an outside entity. Many have questioned the legality of privatization, arguing the practice does not square with e Constitution. While the legality of governments assigning correctional authority to private corporations was broadly argued in the 1980s, it now seems that opposition to prison privatization, at least on a constitutional basis, has no merit. Unless a government has positively no convincing statutory authority for entering into contracts with private prison companies, courts will be hesitant to nullify those contacts on grounds of delegation. “Only delegated rulemaking and adjudication functions that directly purport to exercise a government power are deemed to require special constitutional due process safeguards and to be subject to heightened judicial scrutiny.” (McDonald, et al. 1998) No clear case law has been developed to define with precision how general due process standards will be applied to private prisons. The U.S. has the higher incarceration rate than any other in the world and is paying more than $3 billion a year to the private prison industry. These two facts are interrelated in an intentional and disturbing way. According to a study recently completed by the Justice Policy Institute (JPI), America’s two largest private prison corporations, GEO Group and CCA collectively pocketed annual incomes of $2.9 billion in 2010. The JPI issued a report based on the study called “Gaming the System.” It reveals that during the past decade, the number of prisoners housed in private ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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