American Prison Privatization

Schultz’s article, ‘Prison Privatization: Driving Influences and Performance Evaluation’ discusses the creation of a market for prison privatization in the U.S. The article is against advocating for American prison privatization. According to the author, prison privatization has been in existence historically (Schultz, 2015). State of federal government contract private prisons. The prisons are responsible for housing, supervising, and management of inmates. The idea of prison privatization came as a way of dealing with overcrowded prisons. The solution was also expected to save taxpayer dollars. However, according to the author, the prison privatization has turned correctional institutions into money-making institutions (Schultz, 2015). Private prisons were proposed as a means of improving the quality of service and reducing cost. The private prisons were to provide cheaper services and offer quality service. However, private institutions have shown more interests in making profits.

The article has effectively discussed the inmate rights in prisons. Whether in public or private prisons, prisoners have a right for protection against unusual and cruel punishment, labor rights, among other rights. Private prisons have a responsibility to observe the rights of every prisoner. They should not diminish the rights for their own profits. However, the article has only focused on the negative side of prison privatization. Comparing both sides would have been effective in reaching a fair conclusion. Focusing on the issue of making profits alone may lead to an unfair conclusion. There must be other cause of poor prison performance in the private sector apart from the need to make profits. Additionally, the article concludes that prison privatization has not fulfilled its promises on improving quality, alleviating overcrowding, and reducing costs (Schultz, 2015). However, this argument lacks enough evidence. It is, however, commendable that recommendation for reforming prison privatization is given though recommending its abolishment requires more proof on its total failure.

Pavic’s article on ‘Perspectives of Prison Privatization as a Solution to the Prison System Crisis in Croatia’ supports advocating for prison privatization. According to the article, the prison system is prone to crisis. This requires a solution that would reduce financial constraints. Just like in the US, Croatia is facing prison crisis with imprisonment rate being above average based on EU rate (Pavic, 2016). The prisons have been overcrowded since 2010. The article proposes prison privatization as a better solution. According to the article, the arguments against private prisons have basis. However, some possible risks are present in public and private prisons. For instance, employees on public and private prisons are less motivated due to various factors. The author argues that research on the quality of prison services suggests that public and private prisons offer similar quality (Pavic, 2016). Studies also show that the difference in cost-effectiveness is not as significant. With certainty, the article concludes that when prisons are facing overcrowding, private prisons should be seen as the best solution.

The article concludes by proposing reliance on private prisons to solve the issue of overcrowding. But there are other issues that have not been considered. It is not supposed to be about decreasing population in prisons alone. Prisoners have their rights. They require safe, and quality service treatment. Therefore, the article should have focussed more on the benefits and risks brought about by private prisons. Then comparing these benefits and risks would help in making a better conclusion. Otherwise supporting private prisons just to solve one problem of overcrowding is insufficient. It is however commendable that the article proposes reform in public prisons including improving monitoring systems, giving prison staff more training, and changing legislation to solve the system crisis (Pavic, 2016).

Clearly private prisons seem to overlook the rights of prisoners with the focus on making more profits (Schultz, 2015). This is against Christianity. From a Christian perspective, prisons should focus mainly on rehabilitating and training inmates. This affirmation is based on a call to restoration, justice, and service. Anything close to allowing private institutions to violate the fundamental beliefs in the name of making profits is wrong. Christians are against prison privatization for various reasons. First, the purpose of private prisons is corporate profit. This subverts the purpose of prisons which is training and rehabilitating inmates as stated earlier. This is considering that rehabilitation and training in not profitable to shareholders. Second, the income for private prisons is generated from maintaining a large population of inmates. Private prisons demand occupancy rates that are guaranteed. Such guarantees are against the trend of reducing the prison population. They also tend to violate early release trends, especially in non-violent crimes.

Private prisons are maintaining profits by reducing costs in staff remuneration and training. This raises serious concerns about the competence of the staff, supervision, and management. The practice indicates potential danger to the inmates as well as to the whole population.  The income of prisons depends on the imprisoned people (Schultz, 2015). This is against Christianity which believes that we are all God’s children and that human beings are not tools for making profits. Additionally, exemption of private prisons from legal reporting mechanisms reduces accountability for safe and equitable treatment of inmates. From a Christian perspective, private prisons are against Christian beliefs and should, therefore, be abolished. After all, imprisoned people are also children of God and other children of God should save them from suffering.

Over 126,000 American lives are being controlled by private prisons. The system is largely opaque and unaccountable to the government or to the public. The issue of profiteering from punishing inmates raises moral questions concerning the existence of the prisons. It is however clear that the system might not go away or be abolished any time soon. It is important that measures are taken to reform it (Schultz, 2015). One way is having federal and state governments establishing outside monitoring. This involves popping in unannounced in private prisons. This is contrary to calling ahead of the visit. This will ensure that inmates’ rights are observed.

Second, the governments should make sure that fines imposed against the prisons are higher that the corporations would find it expensive to pay non0compliance compared to complying with the contract signed. This is considering that private prisons often find it cheaper not to comply with the contract. Third, private prisons should be required to abide by similar disclosure requirements as public prisons. Passing federal or state legislation regarding the same would be a better solution (Schultz, 2015).  Fourth, in making contracts with private prisons, the government should make it clear that the media have more access to facilities that are funded by taxpayers. Media people should be able to take tours in the prisons and talk to inmates. This will ensure that the confinement conditions are monitored as well as the treatment of inmates. Reporting on such issues would motivate policymakers to make several adjustments on the system.


Pavic, I. (2016). Perspectives of Prison Privatization as a Solution to the Prison System Crisis       in Croatia. European Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 3 (1), 187-199.

Schultz, C. (2015). Prison Privatization: Driving Influences and Performance Evaluation. Themis: Research Journal of Justice Studies and Forensic Science, 3(5), 1-24.

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