A prison is an institution in which individuals are forcibly confined and denied a variety of freedoms under the authority of the state, as a form of punishment to the individuals who have been accused of committing a crime. Prisons are used as part of a criminal justice system where individuals who are criminally charged with or convicted with a crime, are detained. The individuals who are arrested have to be found guilty to be incarcerated in prison.
Apart from punishing criminals for their wrongdoing, prisons are used as tools of political repression to punish political crimes (Pratt & Jeff 349). However, people who are punished for political crimes are not in most cases tried for their crimes; hence, due process is not used on them. There are two types of prisons that are provided in the United States. They are private and public prisons. This essay will look into the public prisons and public policies that are available.
Public prisons are government owned, and they are managed by government correctional facilities. Having government owned facilities or prisons are of great benefit to the government because they are used for the benefit of the public; to help them take away people criminals way from the community. In political terms, they act as a symbol of government, though on crime policy, where they help curb crime in the society, thus helping people live peacefully (Harding 34). According to research done by the Department of Corrections for the Connecticut General Assembly, it was held that a tough-crime that is solved creates a great public image.
The public image created by solving crimes benefits the government in that the public sees that they are working towards eradicating crimes in the society. Hence, the public will see that they are not lenient towards crime. Public prisons provide work or employment to correctional facilities officers. They also help inmates o boost their living conditions in the cells.
Public prisons do not spread the cost of capital assets over the life of the assets. This is because various expenditure, including medical care, legal work, supplies and equipment and utilities are spread throughout different government agencies; hence, making it easier to run the public prisons. This makes it easier to run the public prisons compared to private prisons where, although the government still bears the cost to the private sector, the public sector benefits as the government is able to spread costs all over different government agencies.
Public prisons compared to the private prisons is weak in the sense of the provisions and the facilities that they provide to the inmates. Private prisons are contracted by a third party be it the federal government or the local or state government to confine prisoners for their wrongdoing. Therefore, making them work for the government where the government pays a certain amount of money monthly for each inmate that is committed in that facility.
Public prisons lack popularity in that most government facilities have been converted into private prisons to help in managing the confinement of prisoners (Flanagan & Caulfield 44). Although studies have shown that there is no difference between private and public prisons when it comes to cost effectiveness, it is clear that the private prisons save more and is efficient in their operations compared to public prisons.
In terms of security, private run correctional facilities are less safe because private sectors tend to employ fewer employees to facilitate the safety of the inmates. Additionally, it has been established that sending less expensive inmates in the privately run facilities is cheaper and inflates the cost savings (Blakely110). Therefore, due to the training that is given to the correction facility officers, they are able to handle any crises or security issues that may arise in the facility. In a study conducted in 2005, it was established that private facilities are likely to have incidences of escapes and violence compared to private facilities. Additionally, 49 percent assaults are on guards and 65 percent of fellow inmates. Therefore, it is clear that public facilities are better in terms of safety when it comes to inmate and the employees who work for the facility.
Having public facilities, renovated and improved in terms of service delivery would help the government in saving money and other expenditures that accrue from the private sector (Price & John 89). For example, the government has to pay money to the private facilities for each inmate who is admitted to a correctional facility. However, the security of such inmates is not guaranteed because private sectors or correctional facilities are there to benefit or get profits from the organization rather than help in rehabilitating the inmates. Inmates and employees face many challenges due to lack of training as it has been established through research that many inmates are assaulted or escape from privately owned prisons, as they do not have the capacity to protect the inmates. The money that is used in private facilities, therefore, should be maximized in the public facilities to help with the delivery of better facilities, where inmates can learn from their mistakes.
A study conducted by the United States Bureau of Justice statistics shows that public prisons are less cheap than public prisons when it comes to expenditure as they receive their funding from various departments and agencies in the country. Additionally, privatization is misleading because they at times refuse to take in an inmate because the government cannot cater for the cost of most members in the house. Therefore, it benefits the government less to have privately owned facilities because they refuse to take inmates based on the money they will get after the inmates are admitted in the facility (Logan 67). Another study established that public facilities take seven times the number of violent offenders compared to private facilities. Therefore, it shows that private facilities make choices on who to take and who not to take as an inmate compared to the seriousness of the offense compared to private facilities that take all sorts of inmates.
The Bureaus of Prisons evaluates that public prisons enjoyed lowered cost and save much money compared to private prisons. This is because the government had a facilitation from other agencies in the running of the public facilities through funding. The funding was used to pay employees, provide them with benefits such as housing and medical insurance, and care (Sellers 67). However, the private sectors have shown to pocket most of the money they are given to run facilities such as transportation of the inmates, which is catered for by the government, among other things. It is, therefore, important for the government to continue running public prisons as private prisons are more expensive.
Blakely, Curtis R. America's Prisons: The Movement toward Profit and Privatization. Boca Raton, Florida: Brown Walker Press, 2005. Print.
Flanagan, T. J., and S. L. Caulfield. "Public Opinion and Prison Policy: A Review." Prison Journal 64.2 (1984): P. 31-46. Print.
Harding, Richard W. Private Prisons and Public Accountability. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publ, 1997. Print.
Logan, Charles H. Private Prisons: Cons and Pros. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. Internet resource.
Pratt, Travis C., and Jeff Maahs. "Are Private Prisons More Cost-Effective Than Public Prisons? A Meta-Analysis of Evaluation Research Studies." Crime & Delinquency45 (1999): 358- 71. Print.
Price, Byron E, and John C. Morris. Prison Privatization: The Many Facets of a Controversial Industry. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger, 2012. Print.
Sellers, Martin P. The History and Politics of Private Prisons: A Comparative Analysis. Rutherford u.a: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press, 1993. Print.
Vaillancourt, Rosenau P. Public-private Policy Partnerships. Cambridge, Mass. [u.a.: MIT Press, 2000. Print.