Rhetorical Analysis of “Feds End Use of Private Prisons but Questions Remain”
Recently there has been a push to shut down private prisons. Due to incidents involving corruption, drug trafficking, gangs, and unacceptable living conditions the choice to close the prison seems inherently right. According to Juleyka Lantigua-Williams, writer of “Feds End Use of Private Prisons but Questions Remain” published by the Atlantic in 2016, this decision has repercussions beyond shutting down a few prisons. Lantigua-Williams argues shutting down private prisons could result in more issues in the penal system. The author believes the Justice Department is moving in the correct direction, but must consider the implications of closing these prisons. In order to sway the reader, Lantigua-Williams uses appeals to Logos and Pathos, mixing facts and statistics with an emotional story.
In the article, Lantigua-Williams begins by explaining the small impact this reform will make on individuals living inside correctional facilities. According to the article, private prisons only make up about eleven percent of the penal system. She explains there are 2.2 million prisoners in federal prisons that will remain unaffected. She continues by highlighting the business hungry nature of the prison companies. Once shut down, they will continue on to states that have not yet employed them. Lantigua-Williams explains a new customer may be the Immigration Enforcement. She explains this is because the recent incarceration of many undocumented immigrants. She concludes by stating the Justice Department needs to move forwards with knowledge and empathy while making these reforms. The Justice Department must consider the repercussions of shutting down these prisons and handle them with care.
Throughout the article, Lantigua-Williams uses statistics to make an appeal to Logos. Without these sources, the author would sound as though she is just stating her opinion. She uses sources such as studies done by ICEgov, The Center for Migration Studies, and a report by the Justice Department. For example, Latigo-Williams writes “Comprised almost entirely of undocumented immigrants, including children and families, the average daily ICE detained population in 2013 was 33,811, according to one study.” She also states the history of the Justice Department, displaying a logical argument on the subject. Giving more proactive solutions, Latigo-Williams believes we can improve our prison system by giving more humane trials, probation rather than prison times, and taking consideration for first time offenders.
Appealing to emotion, Latigo-Williams explains the importance of handling this issue with consideration. She explains the original decision for private prisons was due to a lack of understanding and care from the Justice Department. She describes most prisoners as have issues such as PTSD, Chronic homelessness, mental health issues, and severe addiction. She states, “ The growing public disenchantment with poorly run facilities that were not actually rehabilitating inmates has morphed into a palatable frustration with a bloated system that still cannot effectively help people overcome the circumstances that landed them there.” By making these points the author generates a sense of remorse for the reader. Giving more proactive solutions, Latigo-Williams makes an appeal to Logos. She believes we can improve our prison system by giving more humane trials, probation rather than prison times, and taking consideration for first time offenders.
Latigo-Williams’ argument, although seeming harsh at first, was well thought out and critical of our system. The article includes an appeal to both sides of the private prisons argument. The author explains while the prisons are not humane, they will not go away by ending a few contracts. The author also recognized there is a lot more that can be done to improve the penal system. Latigo-Williams thoroughly explains and supports her argument by using Logos and Pathos to gain the reader’s support.