Pro's and Cons of Prison

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For the past 20 years the private corrections industry has continued to grow. With more than 2 million Americans incarcerated in prisons in the Unites States, local governments and states cannot possibly hope to keep up with the high rates of incarceration. They must choose between overcrowding, releasing inmates, or contracting for outsourcing of inmate housing. More agencies are choosing to outsource their inmates. There are many reasons why agencies choose to outsource and I will discuss a few of them, including the many different options that companies have available to them, their quality of care, cost of housing, treatment programs, and some of the advantages as well as disadvantages of the for profit-business of corrections. The question of why to privatize corrections is a good one. I will explain as best as I can why private prisons are becoming so popular. The first and most obvious reason is cost effectiveness. Many states have discovered that the private sector can house and maintain inmates on a large scale at a cheaper rate than federal or state-run correctional facilities. This is due to many reasons, mainly the standardized internal training many companies conduct for their correctional officers and supervisors. Second is the ability to build when the need to arises without any judicial or governmental interference, No selling bonds or voting they simply buy some land, apply for a permit and start building. Thirdly the private industry is usually a non-union organization, so the wages of officers are controlled by the individual companies not unions. Wages are lower than most state corrections jobs, but the hiring process and training time is shorter. More jobs are then created and individuals who may never have the opportunity to attend a state run due to physical restrictions will find employment in the private sector. Federal penitentiaries and states run prisons are facing major overcrowding issues and things do not look as if they are going to get any better. Overcrowding is a problem that can be alleviated either temporarily or permanently by outsourcing inmate management. Agencies can move small groups of inmates to house them or empty an entire facility out to close an aging penitentiary or a facility needing large scale renovations or updating. Some states and counties are facing lawsuits and fines concerning overcrowding. So outsourcing becomes the only possible solution to their immediate needs. Contracting with outside private prisons allows them to complying with any federal or judicial mandates and avoids the costs associated with law suits Lawsuits arise from facilities not being in compliance with the American Disabilities Act, for staff and visitors as well as inmates, non-compliance with the standards for prisons in areas including admissions, housing, safety and security and food service operations within the facility. Prison overcrowding is a common occurrence in the United States. Almost every state and federal correctional facility has dealt with overcrowding in one way or another. The United States Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that at year end 2003 prison systems across the country were operating at their current capacity or 16% above their capacity. By midyear 2004, the same facilities were operating at 94% capacity. On June 30th 2004 Maricopa County, Arizona was operating at 176% capacity, Polk County, Florida was operating at 138% capacity and Fulton County Georgia operating at 131% capacity. There are several major private prison companies out there to choose from I will go into detail on two biggest. Cornell Corrections, and Corrections Corporation of America, the founder of the private corrections industry. Cornell Corrections maintains 81 facilities nationwide with a capacity of 18, 498 beds in 16 states and the District of Columbia. Cornell offers many forms of care including substance abuse counseling, behavior management, therapeutic communities and...
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