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The Justice Department cited a decline in federal prisoners and a critical recent report about safety and security problems in for-profit facilities.

The move to decrease the usage of private prisons can be considered both good and bad. Since private prisons are contracted by the government, they run similarly to public prisons. Accountability is also similar. That being said, decreasing their use could be inconsequential.

On the other hand, the use of private prisons, if viewed more drastically, could be interpreted as the government handing its burdens onto another entity. Private prisons differ in who is directly watching over the inmates. Since prisoners are stripped of their rights and freedoms because of the crimes they commit, their incarceration is the responsibility of the government which represents the public who’s laws imprisoned them. Transferring those prisoners to private prisons is akin in someways to transferring the government’s duties.

On the other hand, the government contracts people for many things including infrastructure. That provides people with jobs, which in turn promotes spending and helps the economy grow. This could be interpreted in the same manner. Contracting prisons and prisoner control to private businesses gives the people working in those businesses jobs, which in turn has the same effect as contracting out building projects.

The issue with contracting out the prison system is that it deals with people’s lives. Infrastructure is roads, bridges, highways,etc whereas prisons house inmates who are in essence the responsibility of states and the government.


Source: U.S. to Phase Out Use of Private Prisons for Federal Inmates – The New York Times

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