New Report : How Private Prisons "Game the System"

The Justice Policy Institute has released a new report on how private prisons game the system, creating a perceived need for their services. How they do it: Lots of money spent on lobbying and campaign contributions.

You can read the full report here. The upshot:

“Research has shown that private prisons do not save taxpayer dollars and can in fact cost taxpayers more than public prisons. Additionally, privatizing prisons may undermine cost effective sentencing reforms and increase recidivism rates. Despite these well­-documented concerns, private prison companies continue to promote policies that put money in their pockets and people behind bars.”

What would be better than private prisons? [More...]

  • Reducing the number of people entering the justice system, and the amount of time that they spend there (Lowering the prison populations could render private, for-profit prisons unnecessary and "improve public safety and the lives of individuals."
  • Invest in front-end treatment and services in the community, whether private or public.

One more quote:

Taxpayers lose when their money is used to generate profits for shareholders and to promote policies that increase incarceration; communities lose when policies proven to be ineffective for public safety are pushed through state legislatures, and people involved in the criminal justice system lose when they are locked up in underfunded and sometimes unsafe facilities.”

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  • Display: Sort:
    It's painfully obvious... (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 09:35:20 AM EST
    to anyone with half a brain that a private prison system for profit is a recipe for conflict of interest, abuse of incarceration powers, and not to mention morally repugnant.  But ya can't make people care or have morals...that old false sense of security, till someone you love gets tossed in the meat grinder.

    What would be better than private prisons?

    I'm with Citizen Cope, When the penitentiary is on fire

    Shinning Example (none / 0) (#13)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 04:00:34 PM EST
    The (Jan)Brewer administration has also been investigated by KPHO for hiring Chuck Coughlin and Paul Senseman, both lobbyists for Corrections Corporation of America, as a policy advisor and communications director.

    And then it became illegal to be undocumented.


    Great Article (none / 0) (#14)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 04:09:02 PM EST

    "According to Corrections Corporation of America reports reviewed by NPR, executives believe immigrant detention is their next big market. Last year, they wrote that they expect to bring in "a significant portion of our revenues" from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that detains illegal immigrants."


    It just seems obvious to me that (none / 0) (#2)
    by ruffian on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 10:06:41 AM EST
    private prisons would cost more money. Any savings reaped by their supposed better management get eaten up by the profits taken.

    I have no objection to paying public prison employees more money to get a better caliber of employee, if that is the issue.

    And using incarceration as a last resort instead of a first resort would certainly help.

    Meaning that maybe better employees would (none / 0) (#3)
    by ruffian on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 10:08:02 AM EST
    manage things in such a way that the state saves money, even with the increased salaries.

    In CA, at least, the people working the (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 10:59:53 AM EST
    correctional facilities are well-compensated. The problem is space.  

    How is this different (none / 0) (#4)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 10:32:42 AM EST

    from the behavior of correctional officers unions at publicly owned facilities?

    Really? (none / 0) (#5)
    by waldenpond on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 10:45:46 AM EST
    Uh, how about they aren't part of arresting, prosecuting nor sentencing?  They can argue for fair pay, but they aren't in a position to target specific segments of society and incarcerate them for profit and kickbacks.  Jeez.

    In Abdul's defense... (none / 0) (#6)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 10:56:52 AM EST
    they have an interest in keeping incarceration rates high too, to avoid layoffs and keep their jobs.  Unions, as much as I love and support them, can run crooked and shady too.

    They just have far less power than CCA and their lobbies to influence our crackhead criminal justice policies, and far less cashish to gain than the executive board at CCA.


    CCPOA spends lots of money on lobbying (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 11:01:25 AM EST
    state legislators here.  And it pays off.  

    I hear ya... (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 11:08:23 AM EST
    I get tied in a knot when it comes to prison guard unions and cop unions...they have the inalienable right of course, but very rarely, if ever, do our goals or beliefs meet...bad news like some corporations.

    My love of unions vs. my disdain for some unionized gigs, its a pretzel:)


    No bright lines. (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 11:12:47 AM EST
    True (none / 0) (#11)
    by waldenpond on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 11:31:59 AM EST
    I remember reading an article on how guards were protesting the release of the potheads.  They wanted the passive prisoners over violent... which would be the goal of any private system.  I expect debtors prisons to be a major growth industry.

    Rich, poor, and all in between... (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 11:57:26 AM EST
    are capabale of I Me Mine syndrome...though it is more epidemic in some circles than others.

    More than California? (none / 0) (#15)
    by diogenes on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 10:20:56 PM EST
    "Lots of money spent on lobbying and campaign contributions."

    Private prisons could NEVER match the lobbying and political might of the California public workers who are prison guards and their union.