The History of Private Prisons in the US
22 Mar, 2017//Posted by : aebbvelocityloca//Category : blog
The legal system has essentially been the same since the dawn of civilization. If you break the law, you are judged by an appointed person (a king, a magistrate or a judge), and if found guilty, given a proper sentence. Prisons and other confinement areas have also been around for a long time. However, for the longest time, they have been government-run. The USA is one of very few countries in the world to operate privately-run prisons. Other prominent countries in this business are Canada, Australia and the UK.
When a person is accused of a crime, they end up in jail until their trial is up. We wrote a bit about the difference between jails and prisons. Only after a person has been sentenced are they sent to actual prison. If you or a loved one are awaiting trial in prison, you know how emotionally and particularly financially unsound that is. If an innocent person awaits trial in jail, they risk losing their job over something they are not guilty of. The logical step is to post bail and await trial in freedom, living a normal life. If you cannot afford the bail, what you need is a bail bond. To get a bail bond in Alpine or any other part of San Diego County, contact Affordably Easy Bail Bonds agency.
What are private prisons?
Private prisons are correctional facilities operated by a private, for-profit company. They have a contract with the authorities about housing inmates in exchange for money. The inclusion of the private sector relieves the financial and maintenance pressure on the states. There are two types of these facilities. A private company may build a brand new facility and house inmates there, but more commonly, these companies take over existing state or federal facilities and run them instead of the government.
Who pioneered private prisons?
The USA has had a long history of prisons which were built by private companies (or inmates themselves, like San Quentin). Similarly, after the Civil War, the southern landowners found themselves lacking laborers since the slaves had been freed. They leased prisoners from local prisons to work on their estates.
As for modern times, state and federal facilities have always had some private businesses working for them, providing food, clothing, medical care, etc. However, it was only once the War on Drugs started in earnest that the real privatization began. The prisons were full to the brims, so the private sector offered to take over some prisons completely. The first facility to be taken over was Hamilton County in Tennessee.
Are they better than state or federal-run prisons?
The leading reason why prisons have been privatized is the cost reduction for the government. There have been several studies (partly funded by the private prison industry) which indicated that the cost did indeed reduce, however, there were other, independent studies which showed that there was no clear indication that they were better.
Another big issue is safety. While government-run prisons are legally obligated to have fully trained staff, private prisons do not always meet the same standards. Several years ago, an escape from a private prison in Arizona led to additional crimes being committed, all because there were severe security faults at the prison. The contract with that prison has since been terminated. Private prisons obviously have a long way to go in order to reach the same standards as government ones.