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The Drain of Public Prison Systems and the Role of Privatization:
A Case Study of State Correctional Systems

(Released February 2010)

 
  by David W. Miller  

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  1. Changing the Guard: Private Prisons and the Control of Crime

    Robert Whaples.

    Review of Political Economy, Vol. 21, No. 3, July 2009, pp. 510-511.

  2. The colonial carceral and prison politics in Hawai'i

    RaeDeen Keahiolalo-Karasuda.

    Thesis, ProQuest Information & Learning, 2009.

    Most attention given to the disproportionate incarceration of Kanaka Maoli concentrates on individual criminality. Rather than examine Hawaiians as criminal subjects, I analyze the carceral as a site of colonial conquest and neocolonial subjugation. Through historical and representational texts, I argue that the legacy of carceral violence against Kanaka Maoli must be contextualized as a strategy of land theft and political usurpation. Beginning with the public hanging of the grandfather of King Kalakaua and Queen Lili'uokalani under the first written constitution of 1840, I mark the start of a codified Western legal system that subjugated Kanaka Maoli through cruel and unusual forms of punishment. I follow this discussion with an analysis of nineteenth century opium discourses used to advance the Bayonet Constitution and illegal overthrow of 1893. I then move into the ways that twentieth century discourses about drugs and crime continue to be the focal point in the face of organized resistance to the taking of kanaka lands and sovereignty. These patterns continue well into the twenty-first century, where Hawaiians are not only imprisoned in the highest numbers, but also are disproportionately exiled to private prison warehouses thousands of miles away from their country. This policy of banishment, justified through the state's rhetoric of rehabilitation and supported by current studies, exacerbates the subjugation and displacement of Kanaka Maoli. The system of punishment, representing Kanaka Maoli as criminals, is deeply motivated by political agendas that are anchored by particular discourses, ideologies, and representational practices. This reality also extends to policies of rehabilitation. In response to current reintegration philosophies, I end with a discussion about a prisoner reentry curriculum I wrote to increase political literacy and civic leadership among prisoners. The disproportionate incarceration of Kanaka Maoli cannot be solely contextualized as a symptom of colonization, but also must be recognized as a mechanism of colonial and neocolonial conquest. This dissertation exposes and challenges the ongoing colonial practice of stealing kanaka lands and usurping the political authority of Kanaka Maoli through criminalization and incarceration. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved)

  3. A crisis of identity: Nacro's bid to run a prison and what it means for the voluntary sector

    Andrew Neilson.

    Howard journal of criminal justice, Vol. 48, No. 4, Sep 2009, pp. 401-410.

    The presence of a penal reform charity, Nacro, alongside private companies in a consortium bidding to run a new prison is a development that highlights troubling issues for the voluntary sector. This article argues that a combination of poorly implemented market reforms to the criminal justice sector, and the increasing dependence of many charities on government funding, is leading some voluntary organisations to compromise their campaigning and advocacy roles and openly risk 'goal distortion' (Kendall and Knapp 1996). There is a risk the voluntary sector will increasingly be split between quasi-governmental organisations and those charities that remain truly independent.; Reprinted by permission of Blackwell Publishers

  4. The effects of private prison labor program participation on inmate recidivism

    Jeffrey D. Hopper.

    Thesis, ProQuest Information & Learning, 2009.

    The United States is experiencing a persistent increase in its prison population and, consequently, a steady increase in public spending on incarceration. One possible change to mitigate these trends is a return to historically cost effective inmate labor programs. Thus, the primary focus of this dissertation is on potential cost savings and inmate recidivism reduction from the Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program (PIE), a program that allows private companies to employ inmates while incarcerated. Existing economics of crime models and human capital theories form the foundation for the hypothesis that training and education efforts result in a reduction of inmate recidivism. The theories suggest that increasing the returns to legal activities should raise the opportunity costs of illegal activities and thus the agent will far legitimate, rather than criminal, activities. There is, however, the theoretical possibility that a prison training program may lower the cost of crime and therefore increase first offense rates. The historical basis for the use of inmate labor in the United States is explored as is the body of literature tied to inmate rehabilitation efforts and recidivism. The conclusion is that more thorough and effective analytical techniques would improve these assessments. The PIE program's effectiveness in reducing recidivism is explored using prisoner data from the Tennessee and Indiana Departments of Corrections. Contingency tables examine inmate characteristics and identify PIE participation as a potential explanitor of recidivism. Logit regression procedures, including an instrumental variable procedure to address endogeneity, are used to analyze the predictive value of the dependent variables and quantify the reduction in the odds of inmate recidivism attributable to PIE program participation. The results indicate that PIE participation contributes to a statistically significant reduction in the odds of inmate recidivism. Given the conclusion of PIE effectiveness, a potential framework for policy analysis is presented. A net return to participation model highlights the private benefits (including increased savings, future wages, education levels and employment probability) and social benefits (including increased tax revenues, victims' restitution, family support, and decreased incarceration costs) of the program. The monetary benefits are approximated to illustrate potential differences between participants and non-participants. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved)

  5. Evolving Function: Early Use of Imprisonment as Punishment

    Norman Johnston.

    The Prison Journal, Vol. 89, No. 1, March 2009, pp. 10S.

    This article examines the historical uses of imprisonment from its earliest recorded use 3,000 years ago to recent times. A work edited by Confucius notes the building of prisons around 2000 BCE. Although public or private prisons have always existed, their regular use as punishment rather than simply detention before trial--or in some cases, without trial--is more recent. The occasional use of prison as punishment in Greece and Rome spread to other parts of Europe; it was practiced more widely in England at an earlier date than in most countries. Houses of correction influenced either by English or Dutch models sprang up, especially in Belgium, Sweden, and Germany. Although intended for petty criminal offenders, they might also have housed disobedient children, lepers, orphans, or the mentally ill. Special institutions for juvenile delinquents were established gradually in Europe. The last two decades of the 18th century saw a remarkable concentration of influential reformers, who sought reform in the criminal law and reduction in the use of capital punishment and harsh prison conditions. In America, although William Penn achieved progress in more humane punishments in Pennsylvania, stricter punishment returned when he died. With the growth of the U.S. population and the associated increase in the need to house convicted criminals, new prisons continued to be built. Variations on the Auburn cellblock with multiple tiers of cells became common in the various States. Later changes in inmate populations, overcrowding, and a relaxation of discipline procedure led to problems of control in large-capacity prisons. In the late 20th century, this resulted in the design of small-capacity housing units. Hand in hand with the expansion of prison systems went more highly differentiated institutions in terms of security level, age of inmates, gender, and mental health status. 55 references

  6. A further examination of antecedents of correctional staff life satisfaction

    Eric G. Lambert, N. L. Hogan, O. O. Elechi, et al.

    Social Science Journal, Vol. 46, No. 4, Dec 2009, pp. 689-706.

    Working in corrections is not only a demanding job, but a socially important one. While a growing number of studies have examined how the work environment impacts the job stress, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment of staff, very few studies have examined how working in corrections impacts the life satisfaction of workers. The current study utilized OLS regression to examine the antecedents of life satisfaction among staff at a Midwestern private prison. Job satisfaction had a positive relationship with life satisfaction, while age, work on family conflict, family on work conflict, and job involvement all had statistically significant negative effects. Finally, perceptions of the level of financial rewards, job stress, organizational commitment, gender, race, educational level, tenure, supervisory status, position, marital status, and having children, all had non-significant associations with overall satisfaction with life.; All rights reserved, Elsevier

  7. A Generic Multiple Constituency Matrix: Accountability in Private Prisons

    Harald Bergsteiner and Gayle C. Avery.

    Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 19, No. 3, July 2009, pp. 631-660.

    Public and private sector organizations and their constituents are subject to numerous, often competing, accountability pressures. Guidelines are lacking on how to identify and depict the extent and nature of multiple constituency (MC) relationships. This article identifies limitations of five existing MC schemas. A proposed new MC matrix integrates seven accountability dimensions identified from the literature. The new matrix depicts potential accountability relationships and their nature and functions as a normative and diagnostic tool. The utility of this matrix for normatively depicting multiple accountability relationships and diagnostically monitoring accountability performance is illustrated by reference to prisons run by private operators. Adapted from the source document.

  8. GEO Group, Inc.: Despite a Crashing Economy, Private Prison Firm Turns a Handsome Profit

    Erin Rosa.

    CorpWatch, 2009

    While the nation's economy flounders, business is booming for The GEO Group Inc., a private prison firm paid millions by the U.S. government. Behind the financial success and expansion of the for-profit security company, there are increasing charges of negligence, civil rights violations, abuse and even death.

  9. Government by Contract: Outsourcing and American Democracy

    Jody Freeman and Martha Minow.

    Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 2009, viii, 528

    Thirteen papers, resulting from a conference held at Harvard Law School in March 2005, examine the United States's pervasive use of government outsourcing and the implications of this outsourcing for the nation's commitment to the democratic values of public participation, accountability, transparency, and rule of law. Papers discuss public-private governance--a historical introduction (William J. Novak); the transformation of government work--causes, consequences, and distortions (John D. Donahue); the federal framework for competing commercial work between the public and private sectors (Mathew Blum); rent-a-regulator--design and innovation in environmental decision making (Miriam Seifter); outsourcing power--privatizing military efforts and the risks to accountability, professionalization, and democracy (Martha Minow); how privatization thinks--the case of prisons (Sharon Dolovich); achieving contracting goals and recognizing public law concerns--a contracting management perspective (Steven J. Kelman); federal contracting in context--what drives it, how to improve it (Stan Soloway and Alan Chvotkin); six simple steps to increase contractor accountability (Nina A. Mendelson); privatization and democracy--resources in administrative law (Alfred C. Aman, Jr.); private delegations, due process, and the duty to supervise (Gillian E. Metzger); outsourcing and the duty to govern (Paul R. Verkuil); and public values/private contract (Laura A. Dickinson). Freeman is Professor of Law, and Minow is Jeremiah Smith Jr. Professor of Law, at Harvard Law School. Index.

  10. How privatization thinks: the case of prisons

    Sharon Dolovich, 2009.

  11. I'm a Detainee; 'Get Me Out of Here': Predictors of Access to Custodial Legal Advice in Public and Privatized Police Custody Areas in England and Wales

    Layla Skinns.

    British Journal of Criminology, Vol. 49, No. 3, May 2009, pp. 399-417.

    This article examines anew the factors that predict whether detainees in police custody request legal advice, a due process right, and whether those requests are met. It is primarily based on quantitative data collected from custody records, in one public and one privatized custody area in England and Wales, which are analysed using logistic regression. By comparing these two types of custody area, I was able to develop new insights into a neglected area of research. I conclude that privatized custody areas have unexpected consequences for procedural justice. The newer and less austere conditions may facilitate a higher proportion of requests for legal advice, which, in turn, results in higher absolute numbers of legal consultations, although a similar proportion of unmet requests. And, surprisingly, given the wider context of a more vigorous form of managerialism, this suggests that there has not been a deepening of the tendency for due process values to be trumped by crime control values. Adapted from the source document.

  12. Prison privatization: A meta-analysis of cost and quality of confinement indicators

    Brad W. Lundahl, Chelsea Kunz, Cyndi Brownell, Norma Harris and Russ Van Vleet.

    Research on Social Work Practice, Vol. 19, No. 4, Jul 2009, pp. 383-394.

    Objective: To examine the results of prison privatization. Method: In an effort to provide an empirical base from which decisions about privatization might be made, we conducted a meta-analysis of reports on head-to-head comparisons between an identifiable privately managed and publicly managed prison(s). Results: Our search identified 12 studies. Indicators of cost of confinement and confinement quality were assessed. Results suggest privately managed prisons provide no clear benefit or detriment. Conclusion: Cost savings from privatizing prisons are not guaranteed and appear minimal. Quality of confinement is similar across privately and publicly managed systems, with publicly managed prisons delivering slightly better skills training and having slightly fewer inmate grievances. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)

  13. Prison Privatization: A Meta-Analysis of Cost and Quality of Confinement Indicators

    Brad W. Lundahl, Chelsea Kunz, Cyndi Brownell, Norma Harris and Russ Van Vleet.

    Research on Social Work Practice, Vol. 19, No. 4, 2009, pp. 383-394.

    Objective: To examine the results of prison privatization. Method: In an effort to provide an empirical base from which decisions about privatization might be made, we conducted a meta-analysis of reports on head-to-head comparisons between an identifiable privately managed and publicly managed prison(s). Results: Our search identified 12 studies. Indicators of cost of confinement and confinement quality were assessed. Results suggest privately managed prisons provide no clear benefit or detriment. Conclusion: Cost savings from privatizing prisons are not guaranteed and appear minimal. Quality of confinement is similar across privately and publicly managed systems, with publicly managed prisons delivering slightly better skills training and having slightly fewer inmate grievances. (Contains 3 tables.)

  14. 'It was absolute hell': Inside the private prison

    Phil Taylor and Christine Cooper.

    Capital & Class, Vol. , No. 96, Autumn 2008, pp. 3-30.

    As part of a broader current of critique of the economic and political dynamics of prison privatisation - a critique that initially emanated from the USA - this paper focuses on Scotland and on research carried out at its then only private penal institution, HMP Kilmarnock. The authors dismantle the government's case for extending prison privatisation by drilling deep into the experience of Kilmarnock and demonstrating the deleterious effects of marketisation for prison officers and prisoners alike. Degraded pay and conditions and systemic understaffing corroded morale, exposed staff and inmates to risk, and contributed to massive officer turnover. Compelling evidence comes from sources ordinarily unavailable to critical researchers, such as internal company and government documentation. Adapted from the source document.

  15. Soft Budget Constraints and the Property Rights Theory of Ownership

    Karen Eggleston.

    Economics Letters, Vol. 100, No. 3, September 2008, pp. 425-427.

    Modeling the government make-or-buy decision, Hart and colleagues [Hart, O., Shleifer, S. and Vishny, R.W., 1997, The proper scope of government: Theory and an application to prisons, Quarterly Journal of Economics 112, 1127-1161] assume government providers are exogenously more replaceable than private providers. Instead, we posit government managers' soft incentives arise endogenously from their lack of control rights, because of rationally softer budget constraints.