How Does the Private Prison System Works
The American prison system is enormous. It is estimated to have a turnover of $74 billion that eclipses the GDP of 133 nations. The Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group combined generated over $2.53 billion in revenue in 2012, and they represent more than half of the private prison business.
The government contracts out quite a bit of their work, if the government opts for a private prison, a lot of the burden of looking after the prison is taken off the government and put onto a private company. The government doesn’t have to deal with running the prison when it uses a private company to run it. It supplies prisoners to the private prisons and oversees the jail.
What is a private prison?
A corporation runs a private prison. It is also termed as a for-profit prison, where individuals who are confined or incarcerated by a government agency. Contracts and agreements are used by private prison companies that commit prisoners, and then they pay a monthly rate, usually for each prisoner in the facility or for the space individually available, whether occupied or not. The end goal of a private corporation is to profit from anything they deal with. Such contracts may be for the operation only of a facility, or design, construction, and maintenance.
A private prison receives a stipend from the government to make money. The money from the government can be paid in a multitude of different ways. It can be based on the size of the prison, based on a monthly or yearly set amount, or in most cases, it is paid based on the number of prisoners that the prison houses.
How do private prisons work?
Governments who need additional prison capacity are brought together by prison privatization through private companies that can supply staff and space. Local, state or federal level governments seek bids from private firms to operate a prison, jail or detention center. Private firms compete to submit a desirable proposal.
The firm that offers the winning bid then assumes full responsibility to manage the day-to-day operations of a prison facility like hiring prison staff, disciplining prisoners, stocking supplies, providing legally mandated programs and so on. In return for this service, the government pays the firm, typically on a per-inmate-day basis. By taking over the operational responsibilities, the firm also assumes legal liability in case there are any legal or constitutional disputes.
How many prisoners do private prisons hold?
Nowadays private prisons hold more than 120,000 inmates, which is equivalent to 8 percent of all prisoners in 29 states and the federal government. The two largest private prison companies operate with more than 13,000 beds for purposes of immigrant detention. Overall, most private facilities hold relatively low-risk inmates.
What is the cost of running a private prison?
An average Taxpayer who makes a living allocates over 10% of his/her budget to correction facilities each year in the name of public safety. If an average person makes about $75,000 a year, he/she will pay $2,309 annually in state taxes. People pay about $230.90 every year towards the incarceration, monitoring, and rehabilitation of prisoners. If a state, say Arizona spends equally on private and public prisoners, its taxpayer is shelling out $30 every year to private corporations to house prisoners.
The business of prisons is very intertwined with multiple issues that range from unaccountable or practices and other hidden social costs. It is difficult to recognize whether private prisons are a better use of taxpayer dollars when they serve government interests before the interests of civil liberties and transparency. It is abundantly clear is that the prisons system is a high-income business for those especially positioned in the service of the growing needs of the federal and state judicial systems.