Private Prisons Essay

876 words - 4 pages

Oct. 18, 2001 Thesis Private prisons can be a profitable and secure alternative to government run Statement prisons. Private prisons are able to be profitable by controlling the administrational cost of operating the facilities. At the same time, they must adhere to high governmental standards to maintain the right to operate.Background As a nation, we have many issues that we must face. One of those issues is the administration of the, already overcrowded, prison system. This issue is one of the most taxing problems facing our criminal justice system. According to U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics, the prison population at year-end 2000, there were 1,381,892 men and women in State or Federal prison (U.S. Department of Justice). Luckily, the private sector has stepped up to, not only help with this problem, but also take advantage of the profitability in this venture.Evidence #1 Containing labor costs is a crucial issue of the privatization movement. Approximately 70% of the costs of operating a prison go to staff salaries, fringe benefits, and overtime (Logan 2). The administration of this cost is difficult to achieve with unionized government workers. In contrast, private institutions use nonunion and contracted labor, allowing for the lowest benefit packages. With nonunion and contracted labor, government restrictions that interfere with efficient personnel management such as hiring, firing, promotion, salary setting, assignment of duties, work schedules, vacations, and overtime can be avoided. Overall, private institutions contend that they can save around 15% in prison operations when labor cost is efficient handled (Logan 2).Evidence #2 Another way the private sector can control cost is that the private sector has greater flexibility in the procurement process. The private sector contractors are not bound by the same cumbersome and stiff government procurement system. Private vendors can purchase goods and services quicker. They can maintain lower food, supplies, and equipment inventories as well as negotiate better prices for these goods. Competition between contractors, that will supply these goods, will help hold down costs and provide for superior service. Contract renewals are always on the line if service becomes questionable.Evidence #3 One of the most asked questions is what happens in the case of a strike? The answer is about the same as for a government-run prison. Contracted prison guards may not have the right to strike but the absence of this right has not prevented guards from participating in strikes, sick-outs, and other job actions. At a private prison in Rhode Island, all but a few contract guards walked off their jobs. On the other hand, all but a handful of guards at New York's 33 state-run correctional...

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