Private Prisons: Bad Idea

Recently the Trump administration decided to return funding back into private prisons. If you want a glimpse into what a private prison operation looks like, then you may want to watch a few seasons of Orange Is The New Black. Of course, television shows depict a Hollywood styled message, but we should be mindful that this is neither Oz nor Prison Break. Prisons and jails house real people that were found guilty of crimes ranging from failure to pay child support to murder. It has been documented that prisons are now the new mental health facilities yet many in prison cannot seek help because of budget cuts or constraints. Therefore, it’s doing time. Privatization of prisons is nothing more than a false sense of money savings scam combined with corruption and injustice. You cannot build a discount Supermax prison facility and purchase electricity, water, and security at a reduced rate. Private prisons are a fraud providing a sense of fiscal responsibility.

 

I remember a time where prisons were called the Department of Corrections. This fancy title doesn’t seem to carry much weight if prisons and jails are considered a revolving door. I am skeptical when someone calls a correctional facility a revolving door especially when those terms originate from the very people that administer prisons. Why not reintroduce education, job skills, and mental health requirements back into prisons? Yes, it is costly. But failing to provide that very funding is why prison populations grow and sometimes spiral out of control. Funding is not about building more jails and prisons. Funding should be about investment so that jails and prisons don’t become overpopulated. It appears the counties and states are spending in technological requirements that federal grants already contribute or pay for rather than spending on health care, education, and programs to reduce repeat offenders. Prisons also want to keep matters quiet and private as not to require oversight. This is perhaps why prison and jail administrators don’t want outsiders that could raise or report issues such as abuses or the lack of programs.

 

Prison privatization may save a few dollars here and there, but the bureaucracy continues. I would suggest that if private prisons are going to facilitate and house inmates to save money, then state and federal agencies should be responsible for providing mental health care. There should be some form of oversight so that the revolving door mentality is reduced. I would also suggest that prison population census begins showing the numbers of inmates returning the system within a two year period. That way we the public can determine if we are not just saving money, but reducing our recidivism rate. However, if the general public wishes to throw money at a revolving door prison system thinking that cutting individual funding may save money, resources, and create deterrent conditions then perhaps the public should spend a few days in prison or jail to understand its overall impact.

 

Trump said in his campaign speeches that he was going to clean up American crime and begin deporting illegal immigrants. Naturally privatized prisons are one suggestion of facilitating that need. But prisons are not a proper answer when it comes to deportation methods. Other nations deport immediately and allow an individual to appeal from their host country. Simply filling up an immigration prison will cost Ameican taxpayers; not illegal visitors. Prisons already endure a stigma of organized crime and accelerating inmates to advance from low-level crimes to dangerous criminal activity. Do we want to encourage an immigration violation to become an escalated criminal? No prisons are needed for deportation. An airline or bus ticket can do that. Our domestic prisons should be to house criminals that rape, murder, steal, or feloniously ruin our society. To clean up American, we must learn to re-educate America about our laws and consequences. Spend money on educating prisoners and buy an airline flight for an immigration problem. I’m sure our private aviation sector would enjoy profiting a bit more money from that idea.  It’s far cheaper than housing an immigrant for over six months or more. Otherwise, the only winners are the prison industry and its stockholders.