What is your opinion about privatizing prisons?What is your opinion about privatizing prisons?

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readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a great question. I am completely in favor of privatizing prisons. There are many reasons for this.

First, we all know that something has to be done with prisons as it stands now. They are not run well and they cost too much money.

Second, in almost all fields, if not all fields, a private company does better than the government. The government is ineffective and not cost effective. When there is no ownership, there is little incentive to do well. People put in enough, but nothing extra. A private company is different, because it is very much about profits and being effective - after all, it is a business. Moreover, there are real incentives. For these reasons, a private company would do a better job.

In a study that took place in 2008, research showed that the government saved about $15 million dollars yearly when they used a hybrid model of private and state prisons. The study was conducted by the Vanderbilt Institute of Public Studies.


enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rather than privatize, I would eliminate. It's understood that prisons are an expensive increasing cost for the government, but the deeper issue is why has the cost continued to increase? The US has the highest rate of incarceration in the Western World, this a land that once promised the free exercise of Rights. On what charges are people being jailed?  I suspect if you eliminated most drug laws, crime and prison populations would decrease, and the budgetary issues that prisons create would lessen.

Even if incarcerated, prisoners still retain Rights.  Should the whole prison system be privatized, you would see prisoner's Rights being abused.  If the prison system is run like a large corporation, what's to keep prisoners in the US?  Why not send them to Guantanamo if there's space?  How would we insure that the system would still adhere to US law if outsourced?

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My instinct is to favor privatization, since the private sector is often much more efficient than the public sector.  And, if a particular private company is not doing its job well, its contract can be cancelled and another company can be given a chance to do a better job.  I would be very interested to hear from people who oppose privatization.  There may be problems with the idea that have not occurred to me.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that it is a little dangerous to put something as important as prisons into the hands of a corporation.  The idea that a prison can be profitable is morally repugnant to me.  We should not be making money off of our prisoners, or off of their crimes.