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Privatizing State Prison Health Care: A Prescription for Making Taxpayers Sick

NCJ Number
Date Published
68 pages
This paper argues against the privatization of inmate health care in North Carolina State prisons, providing numerous examples from States across the Nation that show the problems associated with privatized inmate health care and prison privatization in general.
Other States have privatized inmate health care, which provides North Carolina the opportunity to assess the problems associated with this practice. The report highlights the records of Corizon and Wexford, the two dominant companies in the for-profit prison health care industry. The overall conclusion of this report is that the privatization of inmate health care services is linked to "pay-to-play" campaign contributions, unsafe prisons, poor inmate care, and lawsuits. The frequently reported fines, infractions, contract disagreements, and inmate deaths suggest that neither company has cost effectively addressed inmate health care. For these companies, profit is the dominant motive for providing inmate health care; and when the desired profits are not realized, contractors back out of contracts. Specific cases from around the Nation are cited and described to support these criticisms of privatized inmate health care. The report also extends its criticisms of prison privatization to the two largest private prison companies, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group Inc. The report shows that State after State that has experimented with the privatization of prisons and in-prison services has experienced deterioration in the level and quality of inmate services in order to reduce costs and increase profits. The concluding section of the report provides examples of prison contractors' campaign donations intended to promote legislation and policies that increase and protect the profits of private corrections contractors.