Policing for 'Profit:' The Political Economy of Private Prisons and Asset Forfeiture

21 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2017

See all articles by Abigail Hall

Abigail Hall

University of Tampa; George Mason University

Veronica Mercier

The University of Tampa - Department of Finance and Economics

Date Written: August 1, 2017

Abstract

Criminal justice reform has fast become a popular issue. Two areas of concern regard the use of private prisons, correctional facilities owned an operated by private agencies as opposed to government entities, and the use of civil asset forfeiture by police. In each of these cases, the “profit motive” is often blamed for the shortcomings and problems associated with each of these elements of the criminal justice system. Using the tools of economics, we explain how the problems surrounding private prisons and civil asset forfeiture are not the result of private enterprise, but the result of the institutional structure of government and the perverse incentives created by the War on Drugs.

Keywords: War on Drugs, War on Terror, Civil Asset Forfeiture, Private Prisons, Private Enterprise, Economics of Bureaucracy

Suggested Citation

Hall, Abigail and Mercier, Veronica, Policing for 'Profit:' The Political Economy of Private Prisons and Asset Forfeiture (August 1, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3011990 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3011990

Abigail Hall (Contact Author)

University of Tampa ( email )

George Mason University ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Veronica Mercier

The University of Tampa - Department of Finance and Economics ( email )

FL
United States

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