Private prisons were banned in the Mid-20th Century because they were views as the new form of slavery. During the progressive era, the last private prison was closed down. Commercialization of Prison system was demonized by religious groups and Human rights activists. The business revived again in the 20 the century. This was as a result of the increased incarceration efforts by the criminal justice system. In order to reduce the crime rate, the courts opted to adopt tough sentencing rules. Currently, the United States of America has incarcerated over two million inmates. The phenomenon creates a situation whereby the correctional facilities across the United States of America are congested, and, therefore, the State governments have to outsource the services of private prisons.
The Privatization of the prisons is contributed to the fact that the American population is unwilling to increase the funding for the state penitentiary institutions. States having run out of available space are forced to Contract the services of privately owned prisons. The government in turn pays an agreed amount of money for every prisoner that they host. Private corporations such as the Correctional Corporation of America are reported to make millions of American dollars as a result of hosting prisoners. The Correctional Corporation of America has the largest number of private prisons in the country. It hosts around 85 percent of the privately contracted prisoners.
Commentators have argued that the privatization of the private prisons does not elude the spending in by state governments. The government has to pay for the services of an independent contractor every month; the cost is passed to the tax payer who has to cater for the services offered by the private prisons. Private prisons are owned by wealthy individuals who have the financial capability to install high technology systems for security purposes. The systems eliminate the chances of hiring more prison guards and, therefore, increase the profit generated by the business.
In some states, the government is spending too much money on paying prison guards and maintaining the prisons. Some people argue that it would be better if the services are rendered by a private contractor who will incur the coat of maintaining the expensive correctional institutions. The funds that have been saved from the privatization will then be transferred to other sectors such as healthcare and education.
It has been argued that private prisons perform better at controlling the prisoners than the government. The efficiency in the private sector is generated by the necessity of to maintain a good public image and, therefore, become commercially viable. It is the opinion of the opponents of this point of view that the government should maintain control of the prisons arguing that the privatization of prisons takes away the power to control the inmates. The system that puts the prisoners in correctional institutions should be the same institution that controls the correctional faculties.
The bureau of Justice Statistics stated that the cost saving that is promised by the proponents of the correctional facilities has not materialized. It was evident that the private prisons did not reduce the cost of operating prisons and, therefore, the managements of prisons should have been left to the states.
The American Civil liberties Union argued that the Private prisons were more expensive and lacked the public accountability that was evident in the Public prisons. In the United States of America, only twenty seven states have allowed the privatization of prisons. Some states have enacted laws banning the subcontracting of prisoners. Other states have enacted laws that make the construction of private prisons commercially useless. The conspicuous construction of a private prison has been expressly outlawed by some states.
Privatization of prisons does not absolve the government the responsibility of dealing with prisoners. The government has to pay for the services that are rendered by the private institutions. Research has shown that the private prisons have inadequately trained guards and, therefore, had higher chances of experiencing prison escapes. The same research revealed that the guard assault was more likely to take in private prisons that in Public prisons. Privatization of prisons creates more complexities than the privatization solves. The government is at the end accountable to the public for the welfare of the inmates.
Mental illness crisis
In the medieval period, the people that were suffering from mental illnesses were committed to a mental asylum that was away from the public scrutiny. The conditions in the institutions were pathetic and unbearable. The mentally ill were committed in these institutions in order to bar them from committing a crime. It was both a moral anathema and a legal wrong to display characteristics of a mentally unstable person. The public perception of the mentally unstable people changed in the twentieth century and the mentally unstable instead of being sent to an asylum, they were directed to a mental institution where they received medical treatment. Human rights activists advocate for the removal of the mentally unstable persons form institution and medical services to be provided in their homesteads. The mentally unstable people were treated as the other members of the society.
The current mental health crisis is caused by the incarceration of more people suffering from mental illnesses than those mentally unstable persons that are receiving treatment. The incarceration of the mentally unstable is fundamentally wrong because some of the mental patients lack the cognitive capacity to from the prerequisite malice aforethought. At the correctional facilities, the mental patients do not get the necessary mental treatment. By the time, they are released they have not undergone the rehabilitation process that is provided the correctional facilities. They come back from a correctional facility, and it does not take long before they are arraigned in a court of law for violence or causing disturbance. Although the federal law prohibits the incarceration of too many mentally unstable people, the Department of Justice found that the state of Mississippi had incarcerated more mentally unstable prisoners in the East Mississippi Correctional facility than the number that was confined in the State mental award.
As earlier mentioned, there is a paradigm shift in dealing with mentally unstable persons and people with development disabilities. They were confined in Psychiatric hospitals that were remotely located away from the rest of the population. The deinstitutionalization of mental patients is largely to blame for the troubles that the American Society is facing as a result of the presence of mentally ill patients in the society. The Community Mental Health Act that was signed into law by President John F Kennedy. It sparked a revolution in the field of mental health. The community Mental health Act allowed required the time spent in the mental facilities to be reduced. This would entail that the majority of the mental patients would access medical health services in the community base centers. The costs of supportive housing are almost equivalent to the funds that are incurred in the inpatient support. The mental patients have been released from the mental facilities in the majority of the western world. Community care has repeatedly failed to fulfil the integration aims of the program. It was expected that the program would lead to the full integration of the inmates into the society. The inmates still face the discriminating they faced in the Psychiatric hospitals.
The community Mental Health Act has led to the release of inmates before they are mentally prepared to join the society. They end up becoming homeless or joining prison. To solve the problem that is affecting the mental health patients, Clinical officers should be included in the team of police officers that are dispatched to handle the mental patients. The incorporation of a medical team into the police unit has helped the Houston police to reduce the number of mental patients who have been detained against their will.
States and local governments across the United States of America should adopt a department of mental health in their police units. The Mental department should aim to reduce the number of persons with mental or developmental disability from being arrested. It would reduce the chances of homelessness in the state. The method has been tested and proved to work in the Houston Texas and other parts of the world.
Another reform that would of benefit to the mental health patients is allowing them to stay longer in the Psychiatric hospitals until they fully recover. Since some of them do not have homes, the state should take the initiative and start homes where the mental patients can receive regular treatment. The measures would eliminate homelessness among the mentally unstable and at the same time reduce the arrests of the mental patients.
Cole, G., & Gertz, M. (2012). The Criminal Justice System: Politics and Policies. New York: WADSWORTH Incorporated FULFILLMENT.