Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No Bargain Private Prisons Are a Bad Deal for the Feds

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No Bargain Private Prisons Are a Bad Deal for the Feds

Article excerpt

It's no secret that private prisons are more poorly run and more dangerous than government-run correctional facilities. This month, the federal government acknowledged that its two-decade experiment with private prisons has run its course. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates instructed the Bureau of Prisons to begin reducing the use of private prisons to house federal prisoners.

"They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs and resources," Ms. Yates wrote. "They do not save substantially on costs" and "do not maintain the same level of safety and security." In other words, the rationale for using private prisons falls apart once outcomes compared to government prisons are taken into consideration. Phasing out the use of these expensive, inferior, violent institutions that have higher rates of assaults on guards and prisoners makes sense.

The federal government has contracts with 13 privately run prisons to house 22,600 federal prisoners. Ms. Yates instructed the bureau to allow these contracts to lapse. This was not well received in the for-profit world of private prisons. The government's decision sent stocks of the companies tumbling because the government is such a big client. …

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