Can Privatized Prisons Work?
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23-08-2016, 11:16 AM
RE: Can Privatized Prisons Work?
(23-08-2016 02:24 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  
(22-08-2016 09:45 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:  Private prisons are obnoxious.


I don't think it would work, that would get very expensive.

Publicly operated prisons are already very expensive to operate.

Of course. I thought your point was to improve the situation, not mimic it.

(23-08-2016 02:24 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  Also if it reduces recidivism that saves a lot of money. Society saves on the not bearing the expense of crimes committed by repeat offenders who would not commit them if they had been rehabilitated....not having to bring to trial repeat offenders and such.

No doubt -- the assumption here, though, is that private prisons would do a better job of rehabilitation than state-operated institutions. Is there factual support for that assumption?

(23-08-2016 02:24 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  The beauty of such a model is it only gets expensive for the state if it actually works.

... and gets more expensive if it doesn't.
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23-08-2016, 05:46 PM
RE: Can Privatized Prisons Work?
(23-08-2016 02:08 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  
(22-08-2016 05:01 AM)BnW Wrote:  The very idea of people profiting off of incarcerating people should make every American cringe. What's next? Do we outsource our national defense to the highest bidder? And, aside from the moral objections, this type of system is assured to be abused.

Lots of people profit off the misfortune of others and they should if they are providing a valuable service. Rehabilitating people is a valuable service. If a private company can do it better than the state I don't think it is morally wrong to let them.

The problem with current business models is they are centered around incarceration and not rehabilitation.

But they do not rehabilitate even though they are paid for that. I did a quick Google search and found several articles on the topic. Here is one study on the topic. From the abstract:

Many prisons in the U.S. are privately operated on behalf of the public by such conglomerates as the Corrections Corporations of America and The GEO Group (Gran & Henry, 2008). While these entities exist to serve the primary function of the prison system, these companies are for profit, and are compensated for rehabilitation success. In fact, the more incarcerates who remain in the system, the more lucrative the enterprise becomes. Consequently, rehabilitation and educational services do not generally factor in to the bottom line of these corporations when compared to construction fees, management salaries, and employee wages (Gran & Henry, 2008).

In general, the U.S. prison system is often unsuccessful at rehabilitating inmates based on the high rates of recidivism (Langan & Levin, 2002). Major impediments to rehabilitation within the U.S. prison system includes the lack of drug rehabilitation programs, overall lack of funding for rehabilitation programs, and mandatory sentencing laws for certain crimes which may force some into prisons who then learn criminal behavior from their peers while incarcerated (Mauer, 2011). The purpose of this review is to discuss and compare the success and methods of prisons in the U.S. and abroad to rehabilitate inmates while applying general behavioral principles.


They are charged with rehabilitation, they just don't waste the money on it. And, that makes sense. Why spend your cash on something that you have so little ultimate control over. Once an inmate leaves the system, you have no control over them. Measuring rehabilitation is difficult and it's bound to be a loss leader. I don't think it's an accident our private prison system has such a high recidivism rate. A for-profit company has zero incentive. All they see is the bottom line.

A government, however, has a responsibility to try to solve this problem. Even ignoring the morality question, there is no reason to believe - and no real precedent - for a for-profit entity being able to improve on something that, by its nature, is not profitable.

It's a bad idea whose time has come.

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23-08-2016, 06:07 PM
RE: Can Privatized Prisons Work?
The current trend in government low bid contracting pretty much guarantees that prison inmates get less of everything including food.

‘They’ll kill for it’: Ramen has become the black-market currency in American prisons

When the low bidder gets the work corners are going to get cut everywhere.

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23-08-2016, 10:02 PM
RE: Can Privatized Prisons Work?
If Implemented, I see Heywood's proposed system being horribly gamed. The resulting mess will be used by Republicans to show how Democrats are soft on crime.

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23-08-2016, 11:31 PM
RE: Can Privatized Prisons Work?
(22-08-2016 10:27 PM)RogueWarrior Wrote:  
(22-08-2016 06:23 PM)earmuffs Wrote:  What BnW said.

Failing that, if I had to think of a situation where it might work MAYBE if the prisons were paid not on time in prison but were paid a set fee per prisoner based on their sentence.
So if someone was sentenced for 21 years and got out in 18, the prison would still be paid for 21 and wouldn't have incentive to 'make' the prisoner stay in longer.

It however doesn't rid you of the other issues of lobbying.
The simple and best solution to private prisons to get rid of them entirely.

Even that wouldn't work.
Profit trumps everything. Health, safety, etc. Everything is subordinate to the share holders need for profit.

Prisons, like health care, should never be a profit centre.

I disagree healthcare shouldn't be private. I think private hospitals can even be better than public healthcare at times. Healthcare is a different issue to prisons.

Healthcare is in the business of making people better, the better it does that the better the business. Prisons are in the job of housing criminals, so the more criminals the more 'business' they get.

The only reason why I personally believe we need a mix of public and private healthcare is that not everyone can afford private healthcare and so we, as a society, need to fulfill that right of all citizens for access to a reasonable level of healthcare. It's also why you yank's and your health system is so flawed because you have to pay for it. I don't have to pay for mine, if I break my arm I don't pay a cent because its covered by the taxpayer. And our tax rates are pretty much the same as yours. Even Obamacare is stupid, you just shouldn't have anything like that. Your government should run public hospitals, free of charge depending on what it is, and let the private healthcare system operate along side it. You're over complicating the whole thing.
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24-08-2016, 03:03 AM
RE: Can Privatized Prisons Work?
(23-08-2016 07:17 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  I'm not sure what switching camels has to do with the prison discussion... and I've decided I don't want to know.

In the story the hermit does tell the Bedouins to switch camels. What this does is align their incentives. Getting to the Oasis in a timely manner no longer means they have to lose the bet.

Change the system so that private prisons are rewarded for rehabilitation instead of incarceration and they will begin to focus on rehabilitation instead of incarceration. That is what we want isn't it?

(23-08-2016 07:17 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  I apologize to myself for trying to interact with you.

Then don't interact with me. There are posters here I just scroll past and don't bother reading their post or interacting with them because I think they are morons. Ortho Skeptica and Baldhobbit for example.

If you have to apologize to your self because you keep interacting with me....what does that say about your discipline? I'm not going to get butthurt if you don't respond to my posts.
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24-08-2016, 03:15 AM
RE: Can Privatized Prisons Work?
(23-08-2016 05:46 PM)BnW Wrote:  They are charged with rehabilitation, they just don't waste the money on it. And, that makes sense. Why spend your cash on something that you have so little ultimate control over. Once an inmate leaves the system, you have no control over them. Measuring rehabilitation is difficult and it's bound to be a loss leader. I don't think it's an accident our private prison system has such a high recidivism rate. A for-profit company has zero incentive. All they see is the bottom line.

They are charged with rehabilitation but their incentives are aligned with incarceration. Align their incentives with rehabilitation and their behavior will change.

Measuring rehabilitation is easy. Measure recidivism rates....oh wait we are already very good at doing that.

The one thing I worry about is if a private prisons compensation is based on the recidivism rate being low, they might start focusing on teaching criminals skills on not getting caught/convicted.
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24-08-2016, 03:17 AM
RE: Can Privatized Prisons Work?
(23-08-2016 11:16 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:  
(23-08-2016 02:24 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  The beauty of such a model is it only gets expensive for the state if it actually works.

... and gets more expensive if it doesn't.

How so? The prison doesn't get paid if the inmate, upon release goes back to a life of crime.
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24-08-2016, 04:24 AM
RE: Can Privatized Prisons Work?
(23-08-2016 06:07 PM)Popeyes Pappy Wrote:  The current trend in government low bid contracting pretty much guarantees that prison inmates get less of everything including food.

‘They’ll kill for it’: Ramen has become the black-market currency in American prisons

When the low bidder gets the work corners are going to get cut everywhere.

This is true. Ramen noodle packets are literally a standard currency, in there (along with cigarettes and other sundries, of course), with stamps also being popular because they represent large amounts of money in a compact size.

Jails are the worst, as they routinely keep their inmates at near-starvation levels, and then charge a dollar or more for 15 cent packets of Ramen noodles. Want more than one roll of toilet paper per week? That'll also be a dollar. And so on. Inmates either have money sent to them from their (usually poor) famlies, or work at $0.15 to $0.40 per hour in the kitchen, laundry, etc., to be able to afford to wipe their asses. Literally.

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24-08-2016, 05:45 AM
RE: Can Privatized Prisons Work?
(24-08-2016 04:24 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Want more than one roll of toilet paper per week? That'll also be a dollar. And so on.

Is it two ply toilet paper or one ply? If you can't get by for an entire week on a roll of two ply toilet paper.....well you are obviously wasting a ply.

When you were in the clink, did you run out of money and have to go commando? You seem to have the bitterness that only comes from personal experience.
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