Private Prisons are Bad for America

Victor Arung Bate, J1 Staff Writer

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America. Home of the brave and land of the free.

You might be surprised, however, that the US leads the world in prison population per capita. Adam Liptak of the New York Times reports that “The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.” This might be why you may have heard politicians talking about how bad the prison system is.

Private prisons, or for-profit prisons, are run by companies that contract with  the government to build and run prisons. Proponents of private prisons tout the idea that governments can save money through privatization. However, this is not entirely true as research by the Arizona Department of Corrections revealed that in order to appear less expensive, these prisons “often house only relatively healthy inmates.” This is even more surprising to Richard A. Oppel Jr. of the New York Times, who  reports in his article “Private Prisons Found to Offer Little in Savings” that,  “private prisons can cost as much as $1,600 more per year, while many costs about the same as they do in state-run prisons.”

This fact alone begs one to consider why,  despite the knowledge that private prisons aren’t profitable for states, why they are still in use. Not only are private prisons almost always an economic failure, their existence poses a moral dilemma.

Private prisons are endorsements by the government that it is acceptable for private-sector companies and the individuals that run these companies to profit from the detainment, imprisonment, and incarceration of people. Regardless of how you view prisons or  prisoners, you must find a way to understand that individuals should never profit from the imprisonment of others.

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Private Prisons are Bad for America