Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Murderers Escaped From a Private Prison? No Reason to Worry

3 convicted murderers escaped from a medium-security prison privately managed by MTC, Management and Training Corporation, which is based in Utah.  But that won't deter Rep. John Kavanaugh (R) from his enthusiastic support of private prisons because well, they save money (except they don't), and that's the end-all, be-all in his opinion.  In fact, he wants to further expand the privatization of his state's prisons (AZ currently has a request for proposal for 5,000 private prison beds) and the services provided therein, despite the fact that it took officials at the prison more than an hour to notify the government of the escape.

But of course Mr. Kavanaugh, conservative that he is, doesn't question his opinions on whether the private prison industry can provide effective services (they can't.), rather he questions why these prisoners wound up in a medium-security facility.  As a government employee, heck as an even half-educated citizen of your state, you should realize that medium-security facilities can house these types of prisoners because an inmate's classification is determined by a lot of factors, not just his/her sentence.  But this distracts his audience from the real point (which seems to happen a lot in politics and mainstream media): that the private market isn't always the best solution to a problem, especially not private prisons.  Sometimes the profit motive is exploited for personal gain at the expense of those who invest in an industry, like the Arizona taxpayers who invest their money in private prisons.

UPDATE: It turns out MTC also failed to notify the mother and wife of two of the victims of one of these guys for 19 hours after the escape.  She was supposed to be notified right away but nearly an entire day passed before a family member saw it on the news in another state and reported it to her. And it has also been revealed that the men escaped by having one of their girlfriends walk up to the prison fence and toss wire cutters over to them.  Great job securing that prison there, MTC.

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