Privatization of Prisons

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“Injustice any where is a threat to justice everywhere” Martin Luther King (Famous Black Quoations Janet Cheatham Bell. Prison Privatization is a broadly defined term for the privatization of prisons and prison-related services. In some cases, this may include transferring control of existing public sector prisons to private companies. However, more commonly private companies are contracted to design, build, and operate new prisons and jails by federal, state, and local governments. In still other instances, private companies may be contracted to provide things such as medical care, counseling, food services, and maintenance within publicly run prisons and jails. Worldwide, there are currently 17 firms managing secure facilities for adults, of which 13 are American firms (Corrections Corporation of America, 2003). "Thirty-one states have contracts with one or more private firms, as well as the District of Colombia, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the U.S. Marshals Service (CCA, 2003)." That's 154 privatized facilities nationwide, with 31 more private prisons and jails around the world (CCA, 2003). Meanwhile, the private prison industry is one of the fastest growing industries in America; yet, in spite of the rapid growth of the private prison industry, many unaddressed concerns remain. Prison Privatization is by no means a new concept in America. One early example of it can be found in the form of the Convict Lease System. Employed primarily by the Southern States during the Reconstruction period, this system involved the leasing out of prisoners to serve as laborers for railroad and mining companies, large plantations, and even logging companies. These private companies assumed all responsibility for the care, housing, and security of the prisoners in their employ, and paid the state governments for their labor (Wells, 1893). Therefore, the states which used this system were not only relieved of the burden of paying...
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