1. fact because of various reasons, however, the number

1.    Introduction

2.    Theoretical

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2.1  General

In the United States there are more people imprisoned than
in any other nation. This became a fact because of various reasons, however,
the number one driver of mass incarceration were laws adopted by US in its “war
on drugs”. Mandatory minimum sentencing
laws which takes away the ability of judges to exercise discretion or
impose a more lenient punishment based on circumstances of the case. Truth in sentencing laws which reduce
probation and parole eligibility, in turn requiring people to stay locked-up
long after their rehabilitation. Three
strikes laws which help sentence people convicted to three crimes to extremely
long sentences. These laws fueled the rapid increase of inmates and imposed
serious budgetary threats for the government of US states. Thus, the concept of
prison privatization emerged, which involves a business contracting with the
government to manage a prison facility. This solution was first implemented in
1984 in Tennessee and Florida. (Anderson, 2000) In 1980s
the size of the facilities went up from the experimental of 80 beds to 500 and
600 beds. In 2015 there were 126,272 people incarcerated in private prisons
which represented 8% of the population. There is a lot of controversy surrounding
the topic. The advocates say that privatization leads to competition thus the
government can choose between different contractors in order to choose the
quality and quantity of services required. The supporters also state that a
business entity is more cost-effective, provides higher quality of confinement
and better rehabilitation programs. The following chapter is going to address these

2.2  Discussion

It is imperative to assess the truthfulness of the claims
made by CCA and GEO two of the biggest private prison contractors. Their claims
feed mass incarceration by making privatization appear to be an attractive
alternative to reducing prison populations. But the evidence for such benefits
is mixed at best. Not only may privatization fail to save taxpayer money, but
private prison companies, as for-profit institutions, are strongly incentivized
to cut corners and thereby maximize profits, which may come at the expense of
public safety and the well-being of prisoners.

Supposed cost

Private prison companies assert that privatization saves
money, or is otherwise cost-effective. GEO, for example, claims on its website to
provide “20% to 30% cost savings” in facility development, and “10% to 20% cost
savings” in facility management.

Research found that at first glance privately managed
prisons appeared to be more cost-effective saving on average US$2.45 per prisoner
each day. However, the authors also found that the predictors of cost were: age
of the physical facility, security level and number of inmates served. Taking
this in consideration the authors state that the type of management (private or
public) didn’t have a significant impact on cost-effectivness. (Pratt &
Maahs, 1999). Even though, privately managed prisons had a cost advantage it
was on average only 2.2% in comparison to their public counterparts. (Lundahl et al, 2007).

Scant economic
benefit for local communities

Aside from supposed cost benefits, the leading for-profit
private prison companies assert that private prisons help local communities.
For example the GEO group website states that  “Every one of GEO’s approximately one hundred
facilities has a unique active role in giving back to their community and their

The view that prisons substantially promote economic
development is highly questionable. According to certain studies, new prisons
appear to bring few, if any, economic benefits. A 2010 study by researchers at
Washington State University and Ohio State University examined data on “all
existing and new prisons in the United States since 1960,” reporting findings
that “cast doubt on claims that prison building is worth the investment for
struggling rural communities.” (Gregory Hooks et al, 2010). Furthermore,
private prisons can impose costs on local communities by obtaining subsidies,
enjoying property tax exemptions, and receiving municipal services (such as
water and sewer services) that cost taxpayer money. In 2001, a report by one
advocacy group stated that nearly three quarters of large private prisons
received development subsidies from the government.(Price, B. E., & Schwester,

Limited incentives
to curb recidivism and prison violence

Leading private prison companies assert that for-profit
facilities protect the safety of prisoners. CCA states on its website “We have the scale and experience to solve the touch
challenges facing government at all levels, while providing the kind of
life-changing reentry programming that is proven to reduce recidivism and
enhance public safety.”

Several studies suggest that inmates in private
facilities may face greater danger to safety than those in federal prisons. One
study concluded that “the private sector is a more dangerous place to be incarcerated,”
and reported, based upon an analysis of national data, that “the private sector
experienced more than twice the number of assaults against inmates than did the
public sector.”


2.3  Hypothesis

3.    Conclusion