Since the reinstatement of private prisons in the 1980s after prior abolishment in the earlier years of the 20th century, debates have arisen within several groups supporting the privatization while others are actively advocating for their abolition. This privatization has left many citizens confused about whether the privatization of prisons ought to be outlawed or not. In this discussion, several scholarly articles and notable newspapers were explored with the intention of understanding the arguments for and against private prisons. For sure, both sides possess some strong cases that are worth highlighting. After, however, the paper concludes, that while privatization of prisons has been easy on the government’s budget by managing prisons on their behalf, the companies in charge of the jails commercialized the entire idea of crime reduction and rehabilitation. Therefore, in my opinion, the privatization of prisons ought to be outlawed.
Arguments for the privatization of prisons
Groups advancing the idea of prisons have some strong points to support their case. To begin with, operations in private prisons are profit-oriented hence the operators are quick to adopt cost-saving measures and other efficiencies (Aviram, 2015). The cheaper but effective mode of managing private prisons has a lighter effect on taxpayers. Secondly, quality standards in private prisons are also quite high due to the current competition; thus every company strives to have a significant share of the market by giving quality services. Another benefit of private prisons is that they impact positively on the communities around them (Kirakossyan, 2015). Many locals secure jobs in the private prisons which puts them in a position to spend more on the local businesses, a positive impact on the region’s economic growth. Besides, there is a reduction in fixed costs which in turn brings about an increase in savings because corporates usually carry out their operations on a large scale. Moreover, when the government outsources the general service and maintenance of prisons, it is left with capital for even more national development (Mohammed, 2017).
Arguments against the privatization of prisons
Despite the discussed benefits of privatization of prisons, several disadvantages come with the privatization process, some of which bear dire consequences. For starters, the lower cost of operation may occur at the expense of essential prison elements such as rehabilitation programs, health care, prison security and the general welfare of inmates (Aviram, 2015; Kirakossyan, 2015). Secondly, the privatization of prisons may be a corrupting factor. This is because the companies that own and manage private prisons may lobby for longer sentences and stricter legislation from the justice system and the legislators to acquire more prisoners and with longer prison sentences to maximize profits.
Thirdly, most prisons avoid housing prisoners who are costly (Kirakossyan, 2015; Mohammed, 2017). It is expensive to supervise high risk prisoners; hence the private prisons tend to avoid them, raising questions on the entire idea of private prisons being cost-effective and an outlet for public prisons. Another disadvantage is that the companies pick their inmates randomly which may result in some prisoners being too far away from home. This action makes the inmates to be cut from the support of their families and friends and also makes them depend wholly on internal amenities which may hinder the rehabilitation process of reforming the convicts into better and more productive members of society (Aviram, 2015). Also, violent occurrences are fifty percent more in private prisons than in public prisons. This is brought about by the deficient levels of officer staffing in private prisons. The low officer staffing happens because the companies intend to expand their profit margins by reducing expenditure on more prison officers.
Position on the privatization of prisons
In my opinion, the privatization of prisons should be outlawed. This is because of the negative impacts of private prisons outweigh their perks. The private prisons are characterized by too much violence, insufficient or lack of essential amenities and other barriers to rehabilitation due to over inclination on maximizing profits. The private prisons not only impact negatively on the inmate but also the society in general (Aviram, 2015; Kirakossyan, 2015; Mohammed, 2017). By putting up the inmates in environments filled with violence, insufficient and lack of outside support, their rehabilitation is impaired and may end up bringing back to the society unreformed convicts which does not do much to the idea of crime reduction. Also, lobbying for extended sentences and stricter legislation is outright corruption and unethical practices since most convicts may end up being sentenced unfairly.
Aviram, H. (2015). Are Private Prisons to Blame for Mass Incarceration and Its Evils? Prison Conditions, Neoliberalism, and Public Choice. The University of California, 39(1), 1- 46.
Kirakossyan, V. (2015). Profits Before People: The Effect of Prison Privatization on U.S. Incarceration Rates and Recidivism. San Diego: University of California.
Mohammed, F. (2017, May 15). The Problem With Privatizing Prisons. Retrieved from JSTOR Daily: https://daily.jstor.org/the-problem-with-privatizing-prisons/
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