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Private Prisons: Dealing in Human Misery

W. Scott Cole

Posted on June 10, 2018 02:34

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Prisons are not comfortable, nor are they meant to be. What they are not meant to be is a money making machine. Private prisons exist for the sole purpose of generating a profit for their shareholders. That is wrong.

When the federal and state governments in this country decided to get tough on crime by increasing sentences, the one thing that they didn’t consider was where they were going to put all those people.

New prisons cost money and the taxpayers did not want to spend the money needed to build new prisons at a rate that would keep pace with the rising prison populations. Enter the private prisons, who told the governments that they could do the job better and cheaper. Governments at every level jumped at the opportunity and the nightmare began.

One of the purposes of prisons is to rehabilitate criminals. There is no incentive for private prisons to rehabilitate anyone. They make no money if an inmate leaves prison and never comes back. Therefore, the only programs you will find in a private prison are the minimum, and the state has to spell out in their contracts that the private prisons must provide those programs. As a result, the only programs you will find are education to allow the uneducated inmates the chance to obtain a GED, and drug and alcohol treatment programs. No job training. No higher education classes. If you have a high school diploma or GED, you can find a job working in the library or the kitchen, doing building or grounds maintenance, or on cleaning crews.

As a result, violence and crime are rampant in private prisons. The guards in public sector prisons are highly trained to be able to handle the problems that inmates can pose. Private prison guards receive one week of training before they are put on the job. Riots are far more commonplace than in public prisons. Because of the poor training, many guards become easy prey for the worst inmates. Constitutional rights violations are endemic. Too many guards tend to solve problems the same way inmates do… violence.

In an effort to maximize profits, the companies that own the prisons cut corners everywhere, beginning with the food. It is the norm for food to be as cheap as possible. More riots happen in private prisons over the quality and amount of food than for any other reason.

Private prisons are extremely understaffed. Another way to increase profits is to hire fewer people to run the prison and pay them less than guards at a public prison receive. Inmates will always outnumber guards, but in private prisons, there are far more inmates per guard than in public prisons.

All these problems and more are the norm in private prisons so that their parent corporations can make money. Prisons are miserable places. Private prisons exist in order to capitalize on and as part of the prison industrial complex. They are the only government sanctioned private industry that profits off of human misery, making private prisons wrong in every way, including morally.

We would be doing the country a favor by getting rid of all of them.

W. Scott Cole

Posted on June 10, 2018 02:34

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The November 2016 edition of the Privatization & Government Reform Newsletter is now online . Topics covered in this issue...

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