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My article studies the prison system and race. A recent study found that there are more adult Hispanic prisoners in private prisons than public prisons. This can lead to lawsuits regarding prisoner equality and racial disparity. In the U.S. prison system, there are public and private prison facilities. Public facilities are owned and operated by the government at the state or national level. If more resources are needed in a certain area than the government can provide, or costs become too high, the government may outsource prisons.
They may contract with a private, for-profit company to run an existing prison, or build and operate a new prison.
When a criminal enters the prison system, an administrator assigns the prisoner to a prison according to security level and availability. This study found that for unbeknown reasons, administrators assign more prisoners of minority descent, especially those of Hispanic ethnicity, to private prisons over public ones. This type of segregation, whether intentional or not, can cause a number of problems.
A prison with a majority of one race is more likely to form gangs, leading to higher rates of inmate misconduct and grievances, as well as escapes. Sociologists involved in the study felt the disparities found were extremely dangerous to inmates as well as staff of private prisons. I did not know there was a difference from one prison to the next. I assumed all prisons were run by the government but it makes sense that the government cannot handle all of these facilities and contracts work to the private sector.
Clearly, there is some type of racial profiling going on. I wonder if the administrators are specifically told to put the minority prisoners in private prisons, knowing that they often cause more problems. In this way, the government would create a safer environment for its own employees.
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