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Pitfalls and Promises: The Real Risks to Residents and Taxpayers of Privatizing Prisons and Prison Services in Michigan

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2012
38 pages
In arguing against the privatization of prisons and prison services in Michigan, this paper cites examples of how for-profit prison privatization in various States throughout the country has undermined rather than improved cost effectiveness in prison construction and operations.
Three primary arguments against prison privatization are presented. First, private prisons have the option of admitting only healthy inmates while transferring inmates who require costly services to public prisons, where costs then escalate. Second, private contractors can bid low to gain contracts and then raise costs later. The expectation of lowered cost based on low bids has not been met through privatization. Third, private prisons often show cost savings by comparing the cost of a low-security facility housing healthy young inmates with the average cost for the full population of inmates. The paper's concluding statement is that the public servants in Michigan look forward to and fully expect to participate in developing responsible cost-saving measures. Privatization, however, is not among them. 98 notes