Private Influence

This week, I’m going to talk about the possible influences that large private institutions have on prison sentence severity.  While looking for more information on this article that covers this topic.  It highlights the corruption of the prison system caused by the desire of these companies to gain a profit.

As it stands right now, 1 in 100 Americans is in prison at any given time.  That’s significantly higher than 1980, even though the violent crime rate has declined since then.  So, how could that be?  More crimes must be warranting prison time than before.  With an increase in prisoners, it has become much more expensive for states to pay for the housing, food, etc of the prisoners.  As of this article, which was published in 2012, the CCA had proposed to 48 states an offering to purchase the public prisons and operate them for a cheaper amount than the states were.  But here’s the catch: the states would have to ensure an occupancy of over 1,000 people at all times.  With this contract pushing for more people to be sentenced to prison time, more and more crimes could end up garnering this punishment.  I plan on looking into this to see if the offer was ever accepted (I doubt it) and will let you all know with an update.

An example of this influence that private institutions have on the judicial system is found in the “kids for cash” scandal in Pennsylvania (2009).  Two judges were paid an excess of 2.6 million dollars to send first time offending teenagers to prison for misdemeanor crimes such as stealing DVD’s and trespassing in abandoned buildings.  Even though the two judges were eventual sent to prison for a combined 45.5 years, they ruined many teenagers lives.

Examples like these point me towards the conclusion that there is no objective for these private institutions other than to gain a profit.  The more I look into this subject, the more I believe that private prisons need to be abolished or reformed severely.

Thanks for reading and let me know what you all think about the influence of these private institutions on the judicial system.

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2 thoughts on “Private Influence”

  1. Yeah I totally agree with you, sounds like it is all just for profit! Crimes are being committed more often, but not only that, they are being taken more seriously than before. This not only results in more inmates inside the prison, but in prisoners who are forced to reside within them longer. But this actually makes me question, what happens if the state abides to this plan but in some point in time has fewer than 1,000 prisoners? Does it get fined or revoked of its authority? The consequence of this is what will drive even more crimes such as the “kids for crime” case that mentioned. Also, it would be nice to know how converting these facilities to private institutions will reduce the expenses of the prisoners? I think this might be crucial in debating whether or not they should be abolished or not. I really enjoyed reading your post, thanks for sharing!

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    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the post! However, I did not find out what would happen if the state failed to achieve the 1,000 prisoner minimum. Thankfully, this proposal was not actually accepted by the states. I was making a point that these private corporations really do not care about what’s right or just, they just want to maximize profit. Although, I agree that the intentions, combined with the billion dollar influence, of these could lead to more cases such as the “kids for cash” scandal. Additionally, to your question about how prisoners are cheaper in these prisons, they are cheaper because the prisons routinely cut corners at the expense of the prisoners and workers. Less food for the prisoners and less pay for the workers for example. More about cutting corners will be in my analysis post that I will post later today. Thanks for the comment!

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