By Jill Schnall and Tim DiPaolo
States are contracting private prisons to
take prisoners from public prisons
mainly to relieve overcrowding
States pay certain amount to firms for
each prisoner in the private prison
depending on security level
Corrections Corporation of America vs.
GEO group Inc. (Wackenhut
• early 1980s
• The Justice Assistance Act of 1984
• 1985 first state-level private-prison contract
was signed in KY
• 1990 Illinois expressly forbid prison
• 1998 NC ended contractual arrangement
with CCA for operation of 2 facilities CCA
1998 Corrections Corporation of America
1999 2 CCA prisons in NM had stabbings
2002 TN Supreme Court in Memphis
Publishing Company vs. Cherokee
Children and Family Services
2005 Prison Legal News sued GEO group
for incompliance with FL laws on public
2007 Friedmann v. CCA – PLN sued due to
incompliance with 2002 court decision
CCA unwilling to comply with Freedom of
2002-2008, 85 CCA employees were
charged with crimes
2007 Proposed H.R. 1889
For Private Prisons
Save tax payer dollars
Not a new idea
Contractual and legal safeguards to ensure
Contract can be terminated for
For Private Prisons Cont.
Financial incentives help to maintain order
Many studies show that privately run
prisons have a higher quality of service and
level of performance
Freedom to set their own budget and
design their own facilities
Provide healthcare, education, and rehab
Against Private Prisons
Savings are a result of lower quality
services (food, medical care, basic needs)
Lower levels of staff and training
Misplacement of inmates
Doing justice should be the government’s
Profit motives cause operators to cut
Against Private Prisons Cont.
Officials in private prisons report the
behavior of prisoners to state authorities
States often do not oversee prisoner
transfers in privatized prisons
Gaining power may cause private
companies to have influence over
Corrections Corporation of
Innovative, efficient, cost effective, forward-
thinking correctional solutions
Pays sales taxes and property taxes
Pays utility payments and construction costs.
Creates jobs for an average of 200 skilled
tradespersons on new construction projects
Employs hundreds of new professionals
Revitalizes existing local businesses and helps
establish new ones
Community Relations Committees
Supports a variety of causes and organizations
○ Habitat for Humanity, the American Cancer
Society, March of Dimes, the American Red
Variety of rehabilitation/education programs
addictions treatment, GED preparation/testing,
post-secondary studies, life skills, employment
training, recreational options & work
American Federation of State, County and
Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
Prison run on taxpayers' expense
Gets lower quality of services
Understaffed, unqualified and poorly trained
Public workers are laid off
“preserve quality public services, ensure that
public service employees are treated fairly and
hold elected officials accountable to the public”
Supports H.R. 2305 – Public Safety Act
End taxpayer-supported privatization
Corporations care more about profit than
public safety and security
Fundamental government responsibility
Table 3. Number of State or Federal Prisoners in Private Facilities, 2000-
Number of Prisoners
Year Total Federal State Percent of
2000 87,369 15,524 71,845 6.3%
2001 91,828 19,251 72,577 5.8%
2002 93,912 20,274 73,638 6.5%
2003 95,707 21,865 73,842 6.5%
2004 98,628 24,768 73,860 6.6%
2005 107,940 27,046 80,894 7.1%
2006 113,697 27,726 85,971 7.2%
2007 123,942 31,310 92,632 7.8%
2008 128,524 33,162 95,362 8.0%
change 2000-07 5.1% 10.5% 3.7% :
2007-08 3.7% 5.9% 2.9% :
Source: Sabol, William J., Heather C. West, and Matthew Cooper,
Prisoners in 2008, Appendix Table 18.
Note: Figures are as of December 31 for each calendar year.
Evidence/Statistics For Private
Prison population is growing by more
than 400% each decade
Federal prisons would need 35,000-
40,000 new beds each year
Control 87,000 beds at 65 institutions
2009 – net income of $42.5 million
Against Private Prisons
49% more assaults on staff members
66% more inmate on inmate assaults
53% turnover rate of employees
Starting wages 23.4% lower
Higher position wages 39.4% lower
GAO spent 1 year examining studies of
private and public prison costs
July 3 2010 prisoners escape from AZ private
2010 SB 1070 (Arizona Immigration Law)
Nov 2010 AZ state audit found private prisons
cost taxpayers per inmate $55.89 per day
while public prisons $48.13 a day
Prop. 19 in CA
Nov 2010 Walnut Grove, the Walnut
Correctional Authority and GEO group vs.
Dennis Earl Holmes
2010 PA Judge pleads guilty
Private prisons should be illegal
Prisons treat people as their product
Provide worse service than government
Profits come from understaffing
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s View on
In favor of private prisons
Public Prisons are too crowded
Government spends too much money on
Cut costs on prisons
Oppose giving control of state prisons to
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