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Executive Summary: Cost Effectiveness Comparisons of Private Versus Public Prisons in Louisiana: A Comprehensive Analysis of Allen, Avoyelles, and Winn Correctional Centers: Phase I

NCJ Number
William G. Archambeault Ph.D.; Donald R. Deis Jr. Ph.D.
Date Published
88 pages
A cost-effectiveness analysis of three Louisiana prisons focused on whether measurable significant differences existed in the cost-effectiveness of private and publicly operated prisons and whether the two private prisons differed measurably in their cost-effectiveness.
The three prisons were the Allen Correctional Center, operated by the Wackenhut Corrections Corporation; the Avoyelles Correctional Center, operated by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections; and the Winn Correctional Center, operated by Corrections Corporation of America under contract with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. The study used effectiveness measures that focused on risk to staff and inmate safety, performance, and efficiency in delivering services to inmates. It also used measures of direct, indirect, and augmentation costs to the State. The data covered fiscal years 1992-93 through 1995-96 and included some information for fiscal year 1991-92. Results revealed that the prisons were comparable and that the three prisons were all adequately protecting the public with respect to preventing escapes and protecting visitor safety. The Avoyelles Correctional Center appeared to be going the best job of preventing escapes, whereas the two private prisons were more effective than Avoyelles in achieving staff safety. Allen cost $22.93 per inmate per day over the past 5 fiscal years, versus $23.49 for Winn and $26.60 for Avoyelles. Overall, the two private prisons significantly outperformed the public prison on the vast majority of measures used to compare the three prisons, although the public prison outperformed the private prisons in several areas. The two main types of prison organization and management were both safe and effective if they were private. Findings suggested that private prisons have a definite place in any State's total prison system, but no State should completely privatize its prison system or contract with any single vendor. Tables