Pros & Cons: Privatizing Jails and Prisons - Essay Example

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The essay "Pros & Cons: Privatizing Jails and Prisons" investigates such a problem as privatizing of prisons in the USA. The movement to privatize correctional facilities has gained a lot of impetus in the USA following the need to cut the cost of incarceration at both the state and federal levels. …
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Pros & Cons: Privatizing Jails and Prisons
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Download file to see previous pages The factors include the recent emphasis placed on controlling illegal immigration, the crackdowns resulting from this lead to the swelling up of correctional facilities. The second reason involves the lengthening of jail terms for a number of crimes. The net result has been an increase of inmates by about 25% between 2006 and 2011 in 10 states. Private correctional facilities - those managed by non-government entities on behalf of the government – have, thus, gained limelight as possible efficacious alternatives to public-run prison facilities. This study explores arguments for and against (the pros and cons of) private correctional facilities and the fiscal responsibilities, finally, taking the position private correctional facilities are the way to go.
Verkaik (2009) provides a detailed analysis of private prison facilities, arguing that a number of disadvantages accompany them. The main argument made by the author revolves around the issue of quality of service, where private correctional facilities in the UK have been shown to perform poorly in comparison to their state-run counterparts. Verlak cites studies showing that about twice as many prison complaints arise in the private run correction institutions when compared to those run by the state. Verlak’s source is the Freedom of Information Act based on data from 132 prisons in the UK holding over 83,000 inmates, thus, giving credence to the argument that private prison facilities have poorer services compared to the public ones. Camp and Daggett (2005) also seem to agree that private prison facilities perform more poorly than public ones except in violent and security-related misconduct. Johnson (2006) while weighing the options for Alabama in regard of whether to go private with incarceration, raises the problem of the private firms going bankrupt and their mismanagement. The recent global financial downturn is a chilling reminder of what such an occurrence would mean to the country’s criminal justice system. In comparison, public correctional facilities may create contingencies, bonds and hedges that ensure they will run no matter the circumstances. Arguments for Private Correctional Facilities: Pros The fiscal responsibilities of a state like California and the possibility of cutting correctional costs are the strongest arguments for private run correctional facilities. According to the California Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (CDRC, 2009), the state has significantly higher costs of running correctional facilities in comparison to its neighbors (including Nevada and Arizona) and also when comparing to the national average. Important lessons are to be learned from the experience of Texas concerning the integration of private run correctional facilities into the criminal justice system. Whereas, Texas has the second largest corrections system after the state of California, however, Texas spends two-thirds less in running its penitentiary system. California spends approximately $162 per inmate on a daily basis whereas Texas spends only $42. A closer look at Texas highlights the role private correctional facilities have played in cutting costs to as high as 15% of the total correctional systems’ expenditure. Research and policy studies support the observations made in Texas in comparison to California. According to Harding (2001), there is no doubt that private correctional facilities bring about lower costs to states’ expenses on running prisons. Private facilities deliver services at excellent value for money ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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