Over the years, the number of prisoners has increased in the United States calling for more prisons to accommodate the prisoners. Due to this increase, the state found it beneficial for the establishment of for-profit prison companies which own private prisons what will help to lock more prisoners due to the great numbers. A private prison also known as for profit prison is a penitentiary or jail where inmates are confined by a third party that has been contracted by the state. The state is obliged to pay a certain amount of money on a monthly rate for each prisoner in the private prison. There are a number of private prisons in the united states for instance, the Corrections Corporation of America, the Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, and Cornell Corrections. Private prisons have made an overhaul in America’s correctional facilities by reducing congestion in public prisons.Pros of Private Prisons
One of the pros of private prisons is that, it helps to reduce congestion in public prisons. Private prisons have been established to help manage overcrowding in correctional facilities at lower costs. Most public prisons in the United States are congested due to the increase in the number on inmates, thus making the US prisons a worst place to be. Therefore, private prisons have significantly helped in reducing congestion in public prisons (Maahs and Pratt 360). In addition, private prisons help the state to save money that could have been used in public prisons because they are cost friendly and effective. Therefore, with private prisons, the government is able to save a lot which could have been spent in building public universities in addition to paying the numerous workers in the institution.
Secondly, private prisons are easy to manage and are less expensive because private prisons spend less compared to what public prisons could have spent on the same inmates. For instance, the labor cost is low because, they have few employees in addition to the wages whereby public workers earn more on general wages and benefits compared to the workers in a private prison. In addition, they spend less on their expenses because they can bid for the suppliers compared to public prisons; therefore, they are cost-effective (Maahs and Pratt 369).
Another advantage of a private prison is that, they have a great chance of providing the best services because, their contact can be canceled by the state if thy fail to perform. Therefore, private prisons are more safe, and with good living conditions because, if they fail to meet the standards, they risk being eliminated. The prisoners in private prisons are given more attention and this reduces the chances of riots and fights in the correctional facility because their issues are sort out by the management. Moreover, they are able to access many things compared to public prisons and therefore, most prisoners leave comfortably.Cons of Private Prisons
Private prisons have poorly trained guards and employees and this makes them unsafe for incarcerating criminals. When criminals are imprisoned where there is unqualified staff, there will be many cases of prisoners escaping because of the poorly trained guards. Most prisoners have been reported to escape in many private prisons and this is because of the lack of competent staff since these prisons hire less trained staff because they are for- profit prisons. There are cases whereby, prisoners start fights and injure each other as the staff is watching because, the prisoners are more in number and the staff are untrained and unfit to handle the prisoners (Austin and Garry 102). The lack of competent and well trained staff in private prisons has led to corruption in these prisons. The untrained correctional officers are said to smuggle drugs and even weapons to the prisoners in order to earn from them or after they have been threatened by the prisoners. They involve themselves in such acts because they are not well trained and therefore, fear that they can be hurt by the prisoners.
In addition, there is no rehabilitation for inmates in private prisons because they cut off rehab programs. Prisons are meant to rehabilitate inmates and if rehabilitation programs are cut out, then there is no need of having private prisons. In addition, they are inefficient because, they cut off rehab programs as well as food and medical care making them incompetent and unsafe for prisoners. Without rehabilitations, there is no need for prisons since that is their work.
Private prisons place all the criminals in one place instead of separating them, for instance. Murderers with first time drug offenders. Placing first time offenders with murderers is very dangerous because, the first time offenders will never change, instead, they will learn criminal tactics from the murders and when their jail term is over, they become the most dangerous criminals. In addition, some first time offenders end up dead in many private prisons. There are many reported cases of young and first time offenders dying in private prisons because they have been murdered by
Private prisons have been blamed for the current high incarceration rates thus denying people their liberty. The work of a private prison is to help lock more people, and because many are being established, more people end up being locked in prisons for many years because they are easily available with space to lock up criminals. Therefore, it is a business to them other than a correctional facility. In addition, they have been linked to the increasing violence and atrocious conditions in prisons. Many private prisons report cases of violence between the inmates because; most of these inmates are mixed. For instance, the first time offenders are put together with the other criminals. In addition, there are many assault cases in private prisons which at times leave some prisoners hospitalized, injured, maimed, or even dead.
Additionally, there are many reported cases of prisoner mistreatment in private prisons. The privatization of prisons negatively affects the rehabilitation, care, and treatment of inmates attributable to profit making motives. These facilities are in business and most prisoners are not given the care they need because, the management does not with to spend an extra coin for the fear of gaining a loss in their business. Since these prisons are working to get profit, they work to reduce their expenses wherever possible and this might put the inmates lives at risk because they to not get quality services. In addition, the main goal of private prisons is to make profit; therefore, they might even disregard the justice system of rehabilitating and deterring the inmates. For instance, if they deter criminals from committing crimes, it will mean fewer inmates thus bringing their business down, therefore, most of them might compromise the justice system in order to keep their businesses running. Additionally, most private prisons discourage parole and early release because it could lower down their profits for lack of inmates because they will be released.
Proponents or private prisons argue that they are cost friendly but research done on the cost of public and private prison proves otherwise. According to Maahs and Pratt, private prisons are not cost-effective because, they only accept prisoners less expensive inmates and they decline to accept expensive prisoners in their facilities and if they find out they have any; they return them to public prisons (369). Moreover, encouraging private prisons leads to overdependence because, most states will rely on private companies to operate a private prison and this can result to incompetency and increased expenses from the company.
There is lack of transparency in private prisons. Most state owned prisons are transparent about everything that goes on in their prisons compared to private prisons. It should be noted that, transparency is vital in all jails in order to ensure fair treatment of the inmates, and this is impossible with a privately owned prison and this can lead to mistreatment in these prisons. Likewise, it can lead to poor health and living conditions of the inmates’ because, the companies running these prisons in business, and they can end up disregarding high quality services putting the prisoners’ lives at risk. Private prisons can compromise the amount and quality of food being served to the inmates in order to fit in their budget and make more money due to lack of transparency. Hence, it will be hard to check on the quality and type of food being served to the prisoners because of lack of transparency and this violate the prisoners’ rights. Therefore, private prisons are not the best because of lack of transparency.
The main aim of private prisons is to reduce congestion in public prisons, to give prisoners the best services, and to lessen the expenses used in public prisons. However, private prisons offer the opposite of what is expected of them. As a result, there is violence in most private prisons in addition to reported cases of escapees. Therefore, it is vital for the companies running private prisons to work on providing the prisoners what they are entitled to in addition to security and a good environment during their incarceration as they serve their jail terms.
There are a number of private prisons that are run by for-profit companies in the United States. This has sparked a number of debates, thus the question whether they are effective for our correctional institutions today. Nonetheless, the establishment of private prisons in the United States has generated greater good than harm in the United States correctional institutions. First of all, the private prisons have helped to resolve the overcrowding predicament in the US prisons. By accepting the establishment of private prisons, the United States improved its prison facilities by avoiding the overcrowding caused by public prisons. In addition, private prisons have helped save money that could have been used to build more public prisons because of the increasing number of inmates which could have been expensive.
Private prisons are effective four the United States’ correctional institution because, they have helped reform inmates faster because of the competition among these companies. Private owned institutions are doing their best to reform and deter convicts from committing crime as a way of creating a competition to gain more inmates for profit making. Moreover, they are more accountable to what happens in their institutions compared to public prisons (Foster 90). Most public institutions are not accountable to any incident that happens in their institution but for private prisons, they have to be accountable or else the state will cancel their contracts yet they need to keep up their business.
Moreover, private prisons have worked as correctional institutions in the United States because they offer educational and outside work programs which help the prisoners after they are released. Therefore, private prisons can work better for the inmates because; they get skills that help them when they are out of prison. Additionally, private prisons have helped perk up the quality of life of the prisoners as well as making correctional facilities more acceptable for rehabilitation for all kinds of inmates because of the quality services they offer. Moreover, private prisons have helped the government save some money and redirect it to other correctional programs in state prisons because they are cost-effective.
Nonetheless, despite the fact that private prisons have offered better services to the inmates in addition to reducing overcrowding in prisons, there are still debates about the issue. Many interest parties are arguing that, they are just there to make profits and not to correct the criminals. However, strict laws and regulations should be put in place for all private prisons in order to ensure the safety and well being of all prisoners in the correctional facilities (Culp 420). Moreover, the state should make sure that, they do a thorough check up and auditing of the facilities used and the type of food the prisoners are served. The facilities should be well built and should have well trained employees in order to ensure that the inmates are well taught and deterred from committing more crimes when they are released. Opponent of private prisons argue that, these private companies lobby for laws and deals that encourage incarceration, yet prisoners are to be corrected and released. Therefore, the state should make sure that, this does not happen and that prisoners are rehabilitated and released when the due time comes instead of imposing harsh rules on them.
In conclusion, private prisons have become more popular in the United States. Nonetheless, there are those who support their existence while others are against their existence. These correctional facilities have both pros and cons since each party has their reason for supporting and not supporting their existence. Private prisons have helped reduce the overcrowding menace in the American prisons. Moreover, they are cost-effective because les is spent and the government can use the extra funds on other correctional programs in public prisons. On the other hand, private prisons can be more violent and very expensive because the management can ask for more in order to gain more profits. Moreover, they can be less accountable because they are privately owned. Private prisons are main contributors to the increasing mass incarceration in prisons because they are readily available for the coming in of new prisoners. Nonetheless, private prisons have been effective correctional facilities in the United Sates despite the cons. They have helps ease congestion in the United States prison which has been a main issue in correctional facilities. Therefore, if they are regulated and stricter laws put in place to make sure they are not only doing business but helping correct inmates; they are the best correctional facilities in the United States.
Foster, Burk. Corrections: The fundamentals. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006. Print.
Maahs, Jeff. and Pratt, Travis. Are Private Prisons More Cost-Effective Than Public Prisons? A Meta-Analysis of Evaluation Research Studies. Crime & Delinquency, 45.3, (1999):358-371. Print.
Austin, James and Garry Coventry. Emerging Issues on Privatized Prisons. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2001. Print.
Culp, Richard F. "The Rise and Stall of Prison Privatization: An Integration of Policy Analysis Perspectives." Criminal Justice Policy Review, 16.4, (2005):412-42. Print.