Advantages and Disadvantages of Private Prisons and Jails

In the United States, prison overcrowding and budget plan cuts within the criminal justice system have resulted in a boost in the requirement and the development of personal jails and jails. According to Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (2010 ), "A private jail is a place in which people are physically restricted by a third party that is contracted by a local, state, or federal government agency. Personal prison companies generally participate in legal arrangements with regional, state, or federal governments that dedicate prisoners and after that pay a per diem or regular monthly rate for each prisoner confined in the facility" (Private Jails, para.

).There are numerous benefits and disadvantages to private jails and jails, as well as conflict. The federal government believes that contracting with respectable private firms is one way to cut cost in prisons and remove overcrowding. Studies have revealed that private prison construction is 24% lower than state built systems (Reed, 2003). Along with cutting cost, a personal facility will enable the government to increase real estate capabilities at a quick rate.

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For example in Houston, Texas; a brand-new Immigration and Naturalization Service center was estimated to cost $26,000 per bed and developed in 30 months through federal government construction (Reed, 2003).

A private firm got the job done at $14,000 per bed and took less than 6 months to build (Reed, 2003). With the cost of building being decreased and time conserved, overcrowding was also minimized. Personal centers can offer authorities effective tools to ensure excellent conduct (Segal, 2001). Personal agreements can be a powerful tool against the abuse of authority.

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An efficient performance-based facility will reward personal companies for offering the care public authorities require, and penalize firms for breaking such agreement (Segal, 2001). Personal companies can provide states more versatility in preparation and creating (Reed, 2003).

A private firm will be forced to make the public’s safety and inmate’s treatment at a high priority to avoid negative attention. Many private prison and jail contracts specify a daily rate of reimbursements per prisoner. The private operator and the state would select a location where, the prison can be expanded if need be. The operation of a private facility could be managed by statutory authority, which is a nongovernmental unit, or public trust, pursuant to a contract with the United States. The statutory Authority could grant housing care and control of a minimum or medium security level prison owned or operated by a contractor (G. J, 1998).

Some disadvantages to privatizing prisons and jails are the deprivation of physical liberties and that the private sector would gain financially. When financial gain becomes the motive for operation the prison, competition begins and the quality of operation and care decreases. When quality decreases problems arise. The focus is lost and decreasing the operations of the prison can increase. With privatizing prisons the risk is run that companies may cut corners, make careless mistakes, and be understaffed.

An understaffed prison presents a high risk for the officers as well as inmates and public safety in the event of an escape. One should ask will the private officers receive the same quality of training that government certified guards receive. Privately run prisons and jails will not provide the same quality of accountability in securing the surrounding communities. By privatizing the profit margin compromises public safety. Whether a prison is privately or publicly run one could identify advantages and disadvantages socially and logistically. Some believe by privatizing a prison a decline in new inmates would occur.

This belief is based on the fact that private prisons would not offer the luxuries of public prisons. For example, public prisons and jails are governed by regulations to provide quality mental and medical care for the inmates. Inmates in public prisons are afforded a library, college educations, and many other amenities he or she could not afford on his or her own. Therefore many inmates consider public prison a vacation to obtain secured housing during different seasons as well as an opportunity to obtain quality medical care when he or she needs it.

Today there are various debates concerning safeguarding a prisoner’s constitutional protected rights, and the states authority to abide by those rights in order to protect the state’s and citizen’s interest. The concern of the prisoner is that they are entitled to rights whether they are convicted offenders or suspected offenders. These rights include due process and everyone accused or found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt has such rights under the constitution of the United States.

Contrary to this is the public interest as well as the state and policy makers that must abridge to make their state more efficient to serve public interest. One must understand that people make mistakes and are still held accountable for their actions. Even more so if one commits a crime, such as capital murder, rape, armed robbery, etc. they are breaking state and moral laws. Offenders that commit such crimes are all given due process and are entitled to a fair trial. If an offender found guilty and sentenced to prison, some constitutional rights should not be violated.

However, there are rights that must be taken away. The first right taken is their freedom, which means that they will be incarcerated behind bars until their sentence is complete. This is the punishment itself; however, when some rights are taken away by the government then it becomes a violation under the constitutional law. When prisoners are in incarcerated they retain the right to humane treatment and have their basic needs fulfilled, regardless of their crimes. Prisons under state law must provide medical care for offenders, as well as making sure that they are in good health and are getting medical attention.

Individuals that are incarcerated also have other rights in prisons that must be met some of these rights include, the right not to be punished cruelly or unusually, the rights to administrative appeals, the right to practice religion freely, the right to medical treatment (both long and short term), and the right to personal property such as: cigarettes, stationary, a watch, cosmetics, and snack food. Medical treatment includes treatment for diseases such as, cancer, HIV, TB, heart problems, high blood pressure, and other medical conditions one may encounter.

The United States must obey by these rules to provide medical care, according to Fellner (2010): The first of the eleven principles in the United Nation's (UN) Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners states: All prisoners shall be treated with the respect due to their inherent dignity and value as human beings. " Respect for the dignity of patients is, of course, also central to medical ethics. For example, the code of ethics of the World Medical Association states that physicians shall be "dedicated to providing competent medical service... with compassion and respect for human dignity” (para. 5).

Throughout the United States prisons and jails carry out their duties in order to have public appeal and serve in favor of the public interest. One must recognize that the states and policy makers must provide protection against prisoners even while they are incarcerated. Although prisoners have rights some are lost in order to maintain order in prisons, discipline, and security. These behaviors include fighting with other inmates, disrespecting correctional officers, and involvement in illegal activity. The state must run an institution that is not only fair but that does not accept inappropriate behavior.

Inmates that are convicted have a term to serve and must look at the prison lifestyle as a punishment, thus showing the outside world the consequences when a crime is committed. When an offender is convicted for a felony crime he or she loses rights that we abuse such the right vote and serve in political office. The outcome varies by state. The fact remains that even after an inmate has served his or her time in prison, they will continue to have state and public interest in their way to fall full a normal life as they are labeled with a stigma.

The government has the right to protect its citizens from all that may be in the best interest of the people and states. According to Law. Jrank. org (n. d. ): With respect to the states, the Tenth Amendment provides that "[t]he powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. " In other words, the states retain their "police power" to enact laws for the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens (Present-Day Relationship between National Government & States, para. ).

There are many remedies to the conflict of deriving from private prisons and jails. Remedies depend upon personal opinion and public interest. Politicians for the most part argue that private prisons and jails are an extra expenditure that the governments can do away with. In contrast, a political view may that not having to build new facilities can save money. A civilian employee working within the corrections system may argue that the staff at a private facility may not be trained as efficiently as one trained by the state or county.

This can be combated if governments adopt a policy such as that used in the State of Florida. All state corrections officers whether employed at a public or private facility receive the same training at a state accredited correctional training facility, overseen by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The conflict of most concern would be the rights of prisoners; How to maintain an orderly correctional facility and not impede on the Constitutional rights of inmates. In all facilities the civil rights of inmates are an issue.

It is all too easy to violate the civil rights of an inmate. To remedy this conflict facility administration need to ensure that their staff is aware of the limited rights of inmates as well as the consequences for the violation of those rights. In conclusion, the use of private prisons and jails come with advantages and disadvantages as does anything. The use of such facilities can save governments money. The use of the same such facilities can raise concern. The public safety and the fair treatment of prisoners is the ultimate goal and should be considered at all costs.

Updated: Aug 12, 2021
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Private Prisons and Jails. (2017, Mar 09). Retrieved from

Advantages and Disadvantages of Private Prisons and Jails essay
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