Private Prison Unsanitary, Poorly Run

Aviva Shen at Think Progress shows that an Ohio prison owned by Correction Corporation of America (CCA), one of the largest private prison companies in the U.S., has 47 state law violations

"Inmates claimed laundry and cell cleaning services were not provided and CCA could not prove otherwise, recreation time was not always allowed five times a week in segregation as required, food quality and sanitization was not up to standards…"

Despite the many abuses discovered at private prisons all over the country, CCA and other industry giants have greatly benefited from cash-strapped states' attempts to save money. However, recent studies show that private prisons actually cost more than state-owned ones. Undeterred, CCA has started offering states millions to buy state facilities like the Ohio prison. Ohio sold the prison to CCA last year to help balance the state's 2012-2013 budget, and CCA recently offered to buy another one in exchange for the state’s guarantee of 90% occupancy for 20 or 30 years.

So let's get this straight: private prisons cost more and run less effectively than other prisons — yet the private prison companies insist that they're an answer to the prayers of cash-strapped states looking to keep government working well. Does that make sense? Indeed, once a state sells a facility and gives a guarantee of high occupancy rates, there's no more incentive to reduce crime; the state is obligated to keep the prisons full for the profiteers. That's not a recipe for a sensible public safety policy that aims to rehabilitate, prevent crime, and minimize costs.

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