Private Prisons and Interest Groups

Topics: Prison, Corrections, Penology, Criminal justice / Pages: 14 (3341 words) / Published: Oct 2nd, 2005
Privately owned prisons began to emerge in the mid-1980s. These prisons emerged because of the ideological imperatives of the free market, the huge increase in the number of prisoners, and the substantial increase in imprisonment costs. (1) Proponents of privatized prisons put forward a simple case: The private sector can do it cheaper and more efficiently. Corporations such as Correction Corporation of America and Wackenhut promised design and management innovations without reducing costs or sacrificing quality of service. (1) Many interest groups comprised of correctional officers, labor works, and a few citizen groups strongly oppose the privatization of the prison system. I will identify four of these groups that oppose private prisons, describe what each has sought to accomplish, and how they have gone about it and to what extent they have been successful. The AFSCME Corrections United (or ACU) is an affiliate of the labor group known as The American Federation of State, City, and Municipal Employees. This group is composed of 60,000 correction officers and 20,000 correction employees. They've joined forces in a labor union to fight for better pay and benefits, for safe work places, and to uphold the standard of professionalism in their field. (2) AFSCME Corrections United claims that private prisons threaten public and worker safety and rip off taxpayers. They have launched a nationwide campaign to urge legislators to keep prisons in public hands and to educate the public on the dangers of private prisons. This group has used such methods as conducting media campaigns, letter writing campaigns, trying to pass legislation, lobbying government officials, and engaging in appropriate legal action to stop prison privatization. Members of the Advisory Committee addressed reporters at a May 6, 1998 press conference to kick off the nationwide campaign against the privatization of prisons. At the press conference, ACU released a report that was conducted by ACU

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