Essay: Prison Privatization Benefits and Disadvantages

Sample Essay

Words 1,188

This essay discuses prison privatization benefits and disadvantages. The privatization of prisons is often viewed as one way of addressing the problems of prison overcrowding and limited corrections resources (Stolz, p. 92).

The privatization of prisons is often viewed as one way of addressing the problems of prison overcrowding and limited corrections resources (Stolz, p. 92).  A combination of tougher laws and lower taxes has resulted in a prison population that is too large for the number of U.S. prisons and the capacity of the state and federal penal system to meet inmate needs while providing an adequately secure and supportive environment (Hakim and Blackstone, p. 40).

The problem is important, as noted by Hakim and Blackstone (p. 40) because “with 1.5 million people behind bars, the United States imprisons a larger share of its population than any other nation….  The cost of confining inmates in the United States has almost doubled in the past five years, reaching $50 billion annually, or $33,334 per inmate, per year.”

For-profit privatized prisons have been in use since the mid-1980s and according to Cait Murphy (p. 54), these institutions have been controversial since their inception:  “Unions hate private prisons because they tend to be nonunion and pay lower wages.  Others question whether it is seemly to make money from incarcerating fellow citizens.”  Privatization is nevertheless seen by Murphy (p. 54) as serving a genuine public purpose:  a well-run private facility is capable of operating more efficiently for less money than a poorly run public one, and privatization can also improve the management of the public sector.

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