Private Prisons

About 30 years ago, there was a big push in Texas to build more prisons that went along with the feelings of the day to ‘Get tough on crime’ and to lock criminals up – see the Clinton administration’s proposal on ‘Three Strikes and You’re Out’. This compounded with Texas’ attitudes (or perhaps intolerance) of crime and criminal behavior has led to a proliferation of prisons and the incarceration rate. In order to help keep costs down, Texas has outsourced some prisons to privately held companies.


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Full disclosure here – I do not agree with this premise of having a company that seeks to earn a profit from the incarceration of people. However, there might be some positives with this: housing prisoners takes a lot of money and if someone else can provide that service for less money, then that is a savings to our taxpayers. On the other hand, this approach has had a lot of problems.

For this assignment you are going to investigate private prisons. When did this all start and what were the conditions for the state to engage companies like this. How big of an industry is this. What are the conditions in a private versus a public prison facility. What about the staff training in these places. How much money does the state really save by having private prisons. Is this a good thing? These questions and the depth of your analysis will be used when I grade the ‘Analysis and Argumentation‘ part of the rubric. For more information on Private Prisons read this:

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