In response to the growing number of prisoners, various governments around the world have embraced the use of private prisons. Private prisons are privately owned prisoners through a contractual agreement with the government. The methods used to establish private prisons include the privatization of public prisons, the contraction of the management powers of a public prison to a private company or society, or the permission granted to the government to build a private prison.
Private prisons have existed since the 19th century. Their use has increased in the 20th century and continues to grow in some states. When a government enters into an agreement with a private prison, it regularly makes payment for prisoners or vacancies in prison for the maintenance of prisoners.
Why use private prisons?
Private prisons are seen as an alternative place where prisoners must ease congestion in public prisons. It is considered easier to manage a budget at low cost while providing similar treatments to prisoners as in public prisons. Sometimes, even better rehabilitation and training programs are offered to prisoners in private prisons. The US government has increased its dependence on private prisons for detaining immigrants who commit civil crimes.
The use of private prisons has grown rapidly in the Trump administration due to the extension of the minimum prison for the entry of illegal immigration at five years. The increase will increase the national population of prisoners by over 65,000. Therefore, more private prisons will be needed.
Several religious groups, political groups and individuals have criticized the use of private prisons as precarious as a means of housing prisoners. For example, three inmates detained in Kingman Arizona State prison escaped and carried out several murders, kidnappings and robberies. Although the three have been stopped, critics have raised the question of how secure private prisons are. Improving security by investing in surveillance cameras, guards, sturdy fences and requiring in-depth visitor screening measures were the security measures that were discussed.
Private prisons are criticized for maintaining the economic aspect and efficiency, while in reality the institutions are understaffed and unfit to handle prisoners. The American Civil Liberties Union has cited a lack of accountability on behalf of private prisons on how they run their businesses and manage their funds. Responsibility failures lead to poor health and healthcare services. Some private prisons have been accused of bribing judges to give more condemnations to convicts before sending them to private prison.
Even some private prisons use a lot of force in handling prisoners. The Ashfield Young Offenders Institution and the Rainsbrook Secure Training Center have recorded increasing strengths with hundreds of attacks on prisoners each year. In response, several states have reduced their dependence on private prisons by canceling contracts and prohibiting the import and export of prisoners. Other countries have banned the construction of private prisons without an approved contract.