Do You Know Someone In Prison?

In my research and digging into the facts of the prison industrial complex I’ve learned more than I thought I would. Some of the information I’ve found has been contrary to my views and thoughts on the facts before I started looking into the matter. One of the most difficult parts of assessing private prisons and their various aspects is keeping quality in mind while looking at cost effectiveness. Although I have found slightly contradicting information on the topics of their cost effectiveness, the majority of my sources seem to point to private prisons actually being more cost effective. Thinking about it more, this is believable because part of the reason private prisons began was in order to take some of the financial burden off of the government in regards to prisons and correctional institutes. Also, it is generally believed that the private sector in most industries is more efficient and better at managing money than our own government is. A more negative aspect of the cost effectiveness is that because these are private systems, they can essentially pay their employees whatever they see fit, even if what they see fit is what some would deem unfair wages.

The quality of private prisons is another critical issue to explore, and it is tied to cost effectiveness when evaluating private prisons as a whole. When looking at the quality of the private prisons, my sources point to neither necessarily being better than the other. The results are mostly inconclusive, with a couple sources pointing either way. This, however, is analyzing the quality separately, and it is important to look at each prison from every angle. Some may be much more cost effective, but does this come with a blow to the quality of confinement, security, and necessities? This is where the most difficult part of the evaluation lies. Many believe that it is nearly impossible to analyze this perfectly since some prison systems differ from others too greatly, and we would require some pretty advanced tools to assess the qualities in comparison to the costs. Even so, my findings were contradictory to what I believed before starting this research since I believed that private prisons would both sacrifice quality and try to suck as much money out of their government contracts as they could. This does not appear to be the case.

Even though I’m learning a lot about these private prisons, there’s still the overarching issue of the prison industrial complex in America and why we seem to have such a large industry for it. Like I’ve said before, nearly one percent of the American adult population is incarcerated, and America houses over one fifth of the world’s inmate population, even though we make up a little over four percent of the overall human population. It might be my optimism, but I find it hard to believe that we are a barbaric society that needs to lockdown almost every one out of a hundred people, especially compared to some of the lawless countries where crime is rampant. I intend to further explore why we have a culture that incarcerates so much of its population (most per capita of all countries), and I also will dip my feet into our policing culture and its ties to the prison complex we have built.