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Advantages and Disadvantages of Prison Privatization Essay

The need for a well-built, reliable incarceration service and program is truly of great social, state, federal, and national concern. As the sense of maintaining justice, peace, and order amongst the communities and state-areas is of a national issue, it is only natural that the government and other public officiating bodies are tackling such social matters. However, at the event of prison privatization, many discussions have spurred it as a sound and trusty alternative for various difficulties that public incarceration systems have been facing.

As any arguable issue is compromised, advantages and disadvantages present themselves. Economic and Monetary Advantage—Real and Perceived There are on-going arguments which discuss the true fiscal advantage of having a privatized prison system, specifically in terms of whether its contribution is significant or not. Those who support the push of such a privatized system argue that a noteworthy percentage of costs can be saved.

In fact, “advocate for privatization maintain that the private sector management and operation of prison can cut costs by as much as 20%” (Carey, 1997 cited in Cheung, 2004, p. 1). Other studies and research have been done to better prove the cost efficiency of such a system. Organization have made efforts to support this particular privatized advantage, finding a direct relation between sending and keeping inmates in a prison system run by the private sector. Michael Hallett and Amy Hanauer (2001, p. ) writes: A 2001 report from Policy Matter Ohio documented a long-standing practice by Ohio prison administrators who manage contracts with private facilities. The practice is known as “cherry picking” and involves “sending less expensive inmates to private facilities, artificially inflating reported cost savings” (cited in Raher, 2002, p. 4). Moreover, the use of a labor base belonging to private sector presents cost-saving advantages as it maintains a sense of control over employee compensation and benefits.

Though figures have been given, those who oppose such privatization rebut with delivering disputes that this is more of a misleading notion than fact. Greg Jaffe and Rick Brooks (1998) explain: In a 1996 General Accounting Office (GAO) review of several comparative studies on private versus public prison, researchers acknowledged, “because the studies reported little difference and/or mixed results in comparing private and public facilities, we could not conclude whether privatization saved money” (cited in Cheung, 2004, p. ). As this is a debatable issue, there are ever combating findings and views upon this matter. It is best to reconsider whether or not there is any actual and beneficial fiscal impact of privatized prisons. Nevertheless, James Austin and Garry Coventry research and examine in terms of future trends that “a number of companies operating privatized prisons is likely to decrease as competition and costs of doing business increase, thus forcing a consolidation of firms within the industry” (Austin & Coventry, 2001, p. xi ).

Hence, the logic of presenting a privatized prison system, a seemingly cost-effective option, still holds problem. Thus, this does not really address solutions to replace fully the traditional, non-privatized, prison system. Quality Process of a Privatized Operation—Safety and Reliability The discussion of quality and reliability of a privatized prison system service and its standing to survive pressing conditions of what prison and its inmates demand is of valuable concern more than anything else. Seemingly, however, prison in a privatized sector is not an ideal fit.

There are issues of safety, for the inmates, guards and public, that questions these. Again, James Austin, and Garry Coventry also examines that physical assaults on guards and staff by inmates were almost more significantly recurrent in private prisons than in government-run prisons and physical assaults on fellow inmates were more significantly recurrent in private prisons (Austin & Coventry, 2001). Hence, with the assorted dangers of a privatized system, it then places its integrity on shaky ground. Sentencing Policy and Profit Motive

It seems that the correlation of the sentencing policy and profit motive is in line with each other at a prison belonging to the private sector. Since profit maximization is the main objective of a private-based organization, it would seem logical to tip the scales of sentencing towards the private prison’s benefit, presenting the possible use of profitable injustice with conditions that may violate particular prison laws and prisoner rights. This presents a disadvantage more over the conscious effort to exercise the true essence of human justice.

Putting the promise of profit ahead of justice is a form of corruption that disrupts the natural hand of the supposed trustworthiness of a true and unbiased justice system. Furthermore, Amy Cheung (2004) adds: “And because most private prisons operate on a per diem rate for each bed filled, there is a financial incentive not only to detain more inmates more inmates but also to detain them for a longer period of time” (p. 4). Lack of Public Oversight With the privatized prison system, the public is freed from paying taxes that are allocated to maintain and ensure a reliable prison system.

However, as tax exemptions are placed, the public ability of oversight in terms of approving and disapproving upon issues of new prison facilities amongst communities, etc, is sacrificed. Conclusion Prison privatization has both advantages and disadvantages that hold key elements for debate. Nonetheless, what must be prioritized is the valuable role of the justice system and the ability of a dependable prison system, whether private, public, or mixed, to render the hand of truthful justice.


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