Furthering the Accountability Principle in Privatized Federal Corrections: The Need for Access to Private Prison Records

55 Pages Posted: 17 May 2014

See all articles by Nicole B. Casarez

Nicole B. Casarez

University of St. Thomas; University of Houston Law Center

Date Written: 1995

Abstract

As American prisons face unprecedented overcrowding, both the federal and various state governments have engaged private entrepreneurs to operate correctional facilities on a for-profit basis. In the federal context, one overlooked consequence of prison privatization involves decreased public access to prison records. When a federal agency delegates a public function, like the provision of correctional services, to a private contractor, the agency frustrates the purpose of the Freedom of Information Act. Prison records that otherwise would have been available to the public become insulated from disclosure by virtue of the contractor’s nonagency status. To safeguard prisoners’ liberty interests and well-being, the Article argues that private federal prisons must be just as accountable to the public as public prisons. Congress should therefore enact legislation subjecting private federal prison records to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act as part of a comprehensive program to monitor and oversee private prison operators.

Keywords: Freedom of Information Act, privatization, private prisons, open records

Suggested Citation

Casarez, Nicole B., Furthering the Accountability Principle in Privatized Federal Corrections: The Need for Access to Private Prison Records (1995). University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, Vol. 28, No. 2, 1995. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2437671

Nicole B. Casarez (Contact Author)

University of St. Thomas ( email )

3800 Montrose Blvd
Houston, TX 77006
United States

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States

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