A prison is a facility where prisoners are kept by force and denied a variety of freedoms by the authority of the state. The detention and repudiation of the privileges are used as a punishment after conviction with crimes. Apart from punishment, the other purpose of prison is a rehabilitation facility for inmates. In many countries, prisons are state owned with only a few countries having both state-owned and private prisons. In the United States of America for instance, private prisons only hold 8% of all inmates in America (Motherjones, 2016). There are more cons than pros as far as privatization of prisons is involved. Therefore the prisons should not be privatized at all. In this regard, the aim of this essay is to state and explain reasons why the prisons should not be privatized at all.
Prisons should not be privatized for the following reasons; compromise on health and safety. Private prisons is a business venture like any other. Therefore the owners of these prisons will do all it takes to try and maximize the profits. To maximize their profits, the private prisons often feel pressured to keep their expenses low. In an attempt to keep the costs low, many result in low- nutrition programs to the inmates, low-quality bedding, low-quality uniforms, and poor sanitation and poorly kept and maintained facilities that do not promote good health and safety.
Security in private prisons is not maximum there have been several instances of breakaways by criminals from various private prisons (Future of working, 2016). After investigations had been carried, it was established that these prisons did not put in place all the measures necessary to maintain maximum and excellence security. Among these measures are the installation of surveillance systems and employment of enough prison warders to ensure that the police to inmates ratio is improved. The ratio or the warders to that of the prisoners is very vital since the safety of the prisoners sorely depends on it in the case of a revolt in the facility.
Privatizing prisons may promote corruption since the business is run by shrewd business owners who would do everything to get money into their wallets (Eastern Kentucky University, 2017). There have been cases when private owners of private prisons corrupted judges to pass higher punishments to convicts and send them to private jails. The private prison owners may also keep most of the cash received from the government as through the contract between them and the government, compromising the welfare of the inmates.
Lack of enough experience among the workers in prison and the wardens (OCCUPYTHEORY, 2014). A great experience is required in the handling of prisoners. Experience is vital on the issue of inmates since some of these inmates are high profile criminals. When experience lacks in prisons then dealing with the prisoners proves to be difficult since some of the inmates are highly educated persons. The prisoners may use their knowledge against the prison warders who are short of experience and eventually escape. Inexperience on the side of the workers at a private prison endangers their life together with that of other prisoners. The risk is brought about by the fact that some of the prisoners are jailed for crimes such as murder and would do anything possible to escape. Experience also plays a significant role in the identification of problems within the inmates which could lead to fights or chaos.
Privatization of prisons would lead to more violence by the prisoners and escapes. The low number of staffs in private prisons and very little measures that are employed to prevent escape in most cases motivate the prisoners to escape. According to a nationwide study, assaults on guards by the inmates were 49 % more frequent in private prisons than in the prisons that are run by the government. Journalists Margaret Newkirk and William Selway highlighted in their report how inadequate training led to jail violence in Mississippi. In this report, the reporters mentioned that the ratio of the prisoners to staff was 1: 120, one bloody riot in prison resulted to six inmates being rushed to hospital having permanent brain damage. During this fracas, the warders did nothing but just waited for the event to end because there were more prisoners compared to the staff.
A correction officer is a person with the responsibility of supervising, ensuring safety, and security of the prisoners in jail, prison or similar form of secure custody (Future of working, 2016). It is the duty of correction officer to take care, control and custody of persons who have been arrested and are yet to be tried while on remand and the ones who already been found guilty and sentenced to serve a given jail term. Also included in their duties is ensuring the safety and security of the facility itself.
Comparing the corrections officers in private prisons and those in state-owned prisons, the ones in private prisons are less motivated. The poor motivation is as a result of private prisons being run as businesses hence the need to minimize the cost as much as possible by the owners. In this attempt to lower the cost, at times the safe working conditions of the correction officers are compromised. On the other hand, the correction officers working on state-owned prisons always have their working conditions catered for regularly since there are oversight authorities from the government, ministry of defense that are given the role of ensuring that the working conditions of these officers are good.
Among the responsibilities of a correction officer is ensuring that the prisoners are safe. Going by the report of the Journalists Margaret Newkirk and William Selway, most personnel in the private sector receive less training as compared to those in public sector. In this case, if the officers are not competent enough that proves difficult to ensure the safety of the prisoners especially from other inmates.
In most cases, many of the private prisons are overcrowded, in fact, according to the report of the journalists Margaret and Newkirk, the ratio of correction officers to that if inmates is 1: 120 meaning there is one officer for every one hundred and twenty prisoners. Going by this ratio, in a case of a demonstration among the prisoners there is nothing the officers can do since they are outnumbered. The officers are forced to watch as the life of those they protect in danger until they get backup from other facilities. In public prisons, although the number of prisoners is bigger compared to that of the officers, the ratio far much better compared to that in the private sector.
In conclusion, prisons should not be privatized at all since as discussed in this essay private prisons has more disadvantages than advantages compared to state-owned prisons. The cons that are associated with private prisons include, increased violence and prisoners escapes, compromise of health and safety of inmates by the private prison owners, the possibility of corruption promotion and lack of enough resources and space for rehabilitation. On the other hand, the working conditions of a correction officer working on a state-owned prison are far much better than those in the private sector. This has been arrived at by putting into consideration the following factors, the ratio of wardens to that of inmates is very large, poor motivation for officers working in private prisons and lack of proper security measures in private prisons.
Eastern Kentucky University. (2017, February 18). Retrieved from Eastern Kentucky University: http://www.corrections.com/news/article/30903-private-vs-public-facilities-is-it-cost-effective-and-safe-
Future of working. (2016, April 13). Retrieved from Future of working: http://futureofworking.com/6-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-private-prisons/
Motherjones. (2016, August 13). Retrieved from Motherjones: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/06/history-of-americas-private-prison-industry-timeline
OCCUPYTHEORY. (2014, November 6). Retrieved from OCCUPYTHEORY: http://occupytheory.org/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-private-prisons/
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