Over the last thirty years, the United States prison population has experienced rapid growth and expansion.  As a result, the overcrowding of prisons and jails present serious humanitarian, social, health, and legal problems as well as fiscal challenges to the local, state, and the Federal Government. Governments and correctional administration started to find creative alternatives and innovative correctional policies to manage the overcrowding and to reduce the cost. A forefront strategy to deal with these issues has been contracting private entities for correctional and rehabilitative services and management. Because the capacity of private prisons has annual average increase of 300 percent (Chang & Tompkins, 2002), privatization is a current and upcoming issue and aspect of the correctional system and thus, important topic to discuss.

Privatization of prisons is the delegation of ownership, operation, and responsibility from the public sector (i.e., the government) to the private sector. For the government, the intended purpose of private prison contracts are to alleviate prison overcrowding and to decrease spending while avoiding the need for bonds, increased taxes, or funding referendum. On the other hand, privatization of prisons and services generate profit for businesses. Contracted out inmates are still under legal authority of the government but are directly imprisoned by private contractors. This website will discuss the history, types, characteristics, corporations, pros, and cons of private prisons.

Top five objectives of privatization for the government (Jing, 2010)

  1. Reduce overcrowding
  2. Speed of acquiring beds
  3. Gaining operational flexibility
  4. Operational cost savings
  5. Construction cost savings