Public and private prisons

Employment opportunities, dollar value and housing market have really been affected by the economic difficulties experienced recently. Prison is one of the sectors affected by the minimized budgets for a long time since mid 1990 (Baker, 2009). Moreover, the recent economic hardships has caused the prisons to drain the state budgets due to the increase in psychiatric and medical care fees, overcrowding as a result of implementation of criminal justice policy and overtimes which are increasing the wage rates.

Therefore, building private prisons is becoming an option for the government in addressing the rising costs in public prisons. This has resulted into the increase in private prisons in the United States. It is argued that private prisons have low costs thus gaining support from political and public sectors. The two prominent private prisons in the United States are CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) and Wackenhut Corrections. For instance, cost per inmate is considered to be the lowest in Texas; nevertheless, the two private prisons seem to offer low cost services than public prisons in Texas.

A greater number of private prisons are becoming accredited as compared to public prisons whereby, private prisons are considered to offer high quality services. For a prison to be accredited it is supposed to meet a number of quality standards, that is, in accommodation and rehabilitative programs. Moreover, the prisons are required to have clear procedures and policies to sustain safety, security, order and prison justice implementation (Lanza- Kaduce & Parker, 1999). It is noted that by 2005, 44% of private prisons had been accredited compared to 10% of the accredited public prisons (Segal, 2005).

There are new policies which are pushing all the private prisons to meet the required quality standards for them to be accredited unlike public prisons, thus public prisons are left dragging behind as the private prisons advance. Operational definition of private prisons The researchers had several definitions for private prison which include: – a situation where public facilities are transferred to private organization; a contract to plan and manage new prisons; and a contract to provide public prisons with different services such as medical care, transportation, foodstuffs and maintenance.

The major difference between a private and public prison is that, operations of private prisons are managed by an organization. It is noted that private prisons usually house inmates on behalf of public prisons whereby, the public prisons outsource a great number of prisoners every year to private prisons. However, the government extends its powers through placing regulations and limitations to the organizations operating the private prisons (Mulone, 2008). Research problem Public prisons are known to have increased operational costs which led to the development of private prisons.

It is noted that in 2001, the government spent 96 percent of its budgets in funding public prisons in order to run its current operations such as wages, salaries, supplies, benefits, contractual services and maintenance (Abransky, 2004). Findings from several studies indicate that private prisons have cost savings benefit more than public prisons (Morris, 2007). Therefore, growth of private prisons is considered to lower prison’s operational costs indirectly thus developing competition between private and public prisons (Morris, 2007).

Prisons are basically known for rehabilitating and punishing offenders. Nowadays, prisons seem to be storage places which offer treatment services to criminals for their criminal behavior. Though it is difficult to measure prisons effectiveness in rehabilitating prisoners, recidivism is known as the right measure for the success of a prison in rehabilitating the offenders. It is also argued that private prisons offer better quality services as compared to public prisons Purpose of the study This study aimed at investigating the factors that led to increased costs for public prisons.

Moreover, the study also sought to compare operational costs, rates in recidivism and quality of services offered between private and public prisons. Research questions The study therefore aimed at determining answers to the following questions: – A) What are the factors increasing operational costs in public prisons B) What are the factors reducing operational costs in private prisons C) Which type of prison, that is, public and private prisons, has higher rates of recidivism D) Which type of prison offers better quality services

Significance of the study (critique) Many researches have already been conducted concerning the operational costs, rates of recidivism and quality of services offered in both public and private prisons though validity and legitimacy of most of the researches is questionable. It is considered impossible to compare entities between private and public prisons since they are managed under different organizational styles, location, types of inmates, prison size, programs offered thus comparisons across similar variables is next to non- existent (Haney, 2009).

I therefore suggest that, the purpose of the study should have been to determine the factors to be considered for public and private prisons to work together in order to improve quality services, lower recidivism rates and operational costs in both types of prisons due to punitive criminal justice policy. For instance, overcrowding in prisons is increasing which is causing psychological harm thus promoting degrading environment and add more fuel to already poor inmate- to –inmate relations (Haney, 2009).

Below is a picture showing the extent of overcrowding in one of the prisons which needs to be addressed very soon (Haney, 2009). Work cited Abransky. (2009). The War Against the ‘War on Drugs’. The Nation, 288(26), 18-22. Baker, D. (2009). The Housing Bubble and the Financial Crisis. Center for Economic and Policy Research, 9, 23-60. Haney, C. (2009). The Wages of Prison Overcrowding: Harmful Psychological Consequences and Dysfunctional Correctional Reactions. Washington University Journal of Law & Policy, 22, 265-293. Lanza-kaduce, L. , Parker, K. F. , Thomas, C. W.

(1999). A Comparative Recidivism Analysis of Releases’ from Private and Public Prisons. Crime & Delinquency, 45, 28-47. Morris, J. C. (2007). Government and Market Pathologies of Privatization: The Case of Prison Privatization. Politics & Policy, 35, 318-341. Mulone, M. , & Dupont, B. (2008). Enter the private security: When new framework for regulation. Criminologie, 41, 103-131. Segal, G. (2005). Comparing Public and Private Prisons on Quality. Segal-Commission-on Prison Abuse. 3, 34-54. Retrieved December 2, 2009 from http://www. burnetcountytexas. org/docs/6-. pdf