Prisons for Profit: Incarceration for Sale

This article was written by Michael Vrickner and Sakyra Diaz in 2011. It introduces the history of private prisons and why they became so popular. The number of private prisons as grown proportional to the number of Americans incarcerated for low-level crimes. It is extremely expensive for the government to run an overflowed prison so a solution was found in private prisons. The conservative belief that the private industry can operate more efficiently than government run operation was disproved in 2011 when the Arizona Department of Corrections released a report stating some private prisons actually cost more than state-operated facilities. Private prisons have also been found to be corrupt as the companies are attempting to maximize profits. For instance, this article discusses a Pennsylvania private prison that "sentenced kids to harsher punishments in order to keep the company's private facility filled." Private prisons are also known for providing campaign money for various political figures in order to gain support for legislation that would benefit profits. This article also discusses how private prisons are more concerned with profit rather than safety. For instance, private prisons minimize maintenance and staff training in order to save money. Thus, the surrounding community is not safe since the staff is unqualified to deal with dangerous individuals. Private prisons also gain money by housing a certain number of inmates so a company will do anything in its power to ensure their prison is always filled.

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