Thursday, February 17, 2011

Logical Fallacies

I guess Ric Scott, the new Governor of Florida, isn't a frequent reader of WhyIHateCCA. Because if he was, he wouldn't make such baseless assertions about his push to privatize more of the state's prison system.

Governor Scott claims he is not motivated to push for privatization by the hundreds of thousands of dollars the GEO Group has donated to him personally and the Republican party. I tend to think that's a pretty blatant lie, but that's beside the point (at least the point of this post).

No, Scott says he is pushing to privatize the system for a few reasons, the most prominent of which is to save money. Well sorry Mr. Scott, but private prisons rarely if ever offer the cost-savings they promise, and have at times been found to be more expensive than government-run prisons.

He also claims his privatization push is motivated by a desire to "do a good job of taking care of our prison system, [watch] how we spend the money, [and make] sure that when people leave prison that they don't come back." But again, Mr. Scott, there is no evidence or logic to back up those lofty goals. Private prisons, to put it simply, suck in comparison to state-run facilites. In every single operational aspect. They are less safe, less secure, and pose more of a threat to both staff and prisoners. Private prisons are far less accountable and transparent to the public, including in terms of how money is spent. And finally, private prisons offer less programming than state-run facilities, and prisoners released from them have higher rates of recidivism.

So all the cost-savings you think your state might realize from further privatization, Mr. Scott, aren't really what they're cracked up to be. Every private prison in this country offers at best a substandard quality of service. By further privatizing the system, you would be making a terrible investment with your state's tax dollars, and you will wind up costing Floridians more in the long run, in terms of the financial responsibilty of dealing with people who don't get adequate rehabilitation services while in prison, and the social costs of having prisoners re-enter society when they're not prepared to be productive citizens. This is a short-sighted potential solution to a major problem, that will have ramifications for years, if not decades, to come.

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