Breaking this subject out into a separate thread, previously it was discussed as part of a thread regarding arresting and detaining in jail illegal immigrants.
- They are inherently corrupting and this problem cannot be mitigated, short of abolition. For example, Trump’s & Session’s immigration crackdown is driven in good part due to a need to repay their campaign donations from private prisons. Repaying private prisons can ONLY be done in one way, that is by sending them more “customers.” Private prisons thus create a perverse incentive to deliberately RAISE the incarceration rate, as if it weren’t high enough already.
1a. They are judicially corrupting as well. There was the “Cash for Kids” scandal here in Pennsylvania, where state judges were taking kickbacks to send juveniles to private detention facilities. In Iowa, United States District Judge Linda Reade’s husband is a major investor in CoreCivic, a private prison company. Several days before a major raid on a meat-packer, her husband increased his investments. She signed the warrant for raid and knew the day it would take place, so she obviously clued her husband in on when to buy.
There are many, many such examples
- Private prisons are clearly inferior to United States Bureau of Prisons facilities and generally are inferior to State and local facilities, though that obviously varies by State. And again, the nature of private prisons ensures there is no way to mitigate this problem. Private prisons obviously operate on the profit motive, which is generally an excellent motivation. But with private prisons, the perverse incentive again appears. Minimizing costs has led to abusive behavior, violence and escapes at private facilities, with rehabilitation efforts almost non existent. Bureau of Prisons facilities operate on a set budget and there are no perverse incentives to skimp on money for security and rehabilitation, etc. Instead, Wardens and Assistant Wardens are judged on performance and keeping good order in their facilities.
As a consequence, I support legislation to abolish the use of private prisons at the Federal level. I would allow nor more than 5 years for the Federal Government to phase out all contracts with private prisons and to move all prisoners and pre-trial detainees to Bureau of Prison’s facilities or to State or local facilities that meet federal standards.
At the State and local level, I support efforts to enact legislation and/or local ordinances to phase out the use of private prisons within 5 years.
I also support Federal, State and local legislation that would ban private outsourcing of “core” functions in public prison facilities, such as guards and rehabilitative staff.
Prisons and jails are simply an inherently public function and should be run that way.
I would note that there are some **** poor State and local facilities, but they don’t justify the existence of private facilities. Rather, they point to the need to upgrade or replace those facilities.
In the interim, while private prisons continue to exist, I would support legislation requiring all judges, Federal and State, to divest from private prison stock or any fund invested in private prisons and require their immediate family members to do so as well. I would require politicians who have received campaign donations from private prisons to public disclose those donations each and every time they take an action that could potentially generate more prisoners for private prisons.