Kicking the National Habit: The Legal and Policy Arguments for Abolishing Private Prison Contracts
George Washington University - Law School
January 10, 2010
Privatization overall negatively impacts the treatment, rehabilitation, and care of prisoners, indicating that the market-driven business model is fundamentally incompatible with an effective and humane corrections system. There are several reasons for this tension. First, private prison companies are primarily profit-seeking entities, working to reduce costs wherever possible. Cost-cutting measures promote inferior contract performance, undue safety risks, and poor delivery of inmate services. The profit motive also encourages private prison companies to disregard the principles of inmate rehabilitation and criminal deterrence; if advanced, these principles would undermine profits and reduce the demand for these companies’ services. Finally, to expand their markets, private prison operators are exhorted to advance harsh criminal sentencing policies and to dilute early-release, parole, and good-behavior programs within their facilities. All of these market-based incentives, as applied to the field of corrections, operate to the detriment of the Government, prison inmates, and society as a whole.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 32
Keywords: Private Prisons, Criminal Justice, Privatization, Human Rights, Public Contracts, Government Contractsworking papers series
Date posted: January 11, 2010
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