1. What do you think about the privatization of prisons?
Privatization of prisons seems a good and beautiful idea from the outside, but its effects are quite negative. Privatization is usually employed by governments to spur efficiency, cost savings and competition. Therefore, privatization is aimed at increasing profits. When this idea is applied to prisons, it does not achieve any meaningful benefit. For prisons to benefit, they have to keep more people locked up. According to ACLU (2012), the business model of private prison companies is dependent on locking up more and more individuals. This has led to massive incarceration. An example is given of a plan that ultimately became the immigration law of Arizona. According to Sullivan (2010), prison companies had a business model of locking up illegal immigrants.
Data from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (2013) indicates that as of March 2013, inmates in privately-managed facilities and other contract facilities made up 19.3 percent of the total inmate population. This indicates the massive share of inmates that private prisons account for. It is true that the costs of imprisoning the rising numbers of inmates burdens the federal budgets with increasing debt. Proponents of private prisons therefore argue that the idea saves the government money. However, according to the Arizona Republic (2012), the argument that private prisons are cost-effective is not proven. In fact, a study conducted between 2008 and 2010 indicated that Arizona paid 10 million dollars more for private prisons than it would have paid for prisons that are publicly run (The Arizona Republic, 2012). Also, there are allegations of atrocious conditions and numerous violence cases linked to private prisons. Private prisons are just a business opportunity with the aim of making profit and not correctional facilities. They have only contributed to massive incarceration with more people in jails or prisons.
American Civil Liberties Union. (2012) Private Prisons. ACLU, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.aclu.org/prisoners-rights/private-prisons
Federal Bureau of Prisons. (2013, March 30) Quick Facts about the Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved from http://www.bop.gov/news/quick.jsp
Sullivan, L. (2010, October 28) Prison Economics Help Drive Arizona Immigration Law. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/2010/10/28/130833741/prison-economics-help-drive- ariz-immigration-law
The Arizona Republic. (2012, February 18) Let’s Get Facts on Private Prisons. The Republic, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/20120216editorials0218-lets- get-facts-private-prisons.html?nclick_check=1