Ohio is currently in the process of trying to sell 5 state prisons to private operators to raise money during the recession. As I reported on before, the deal isn't nearly as beneficial for the state and its taxpayers as it was initially said to be. So any hopes Ohio's taxpayers have of saving money on corrections through privatization should be tempered, especially because private prisons have often been found to not even save any significant amount of money in operations, compared to government-run prisons.
So private prisons don't save money. Private prisons also consistently have higher rates of escapes, assaults, and violence at their facilities, and they cut corners in every area of operations. So really the state of Ohio should listen to CCA spokesman Steve Owen, who says "If we don't operate safe, secure facilities, and we don't provide the cost savings that are expected, there's no reason for government to continue to partner with our industry." I couldn't have said it better myself.
I think Ohio should heed his words, especially in light of the state's turbulent history with private prisons. In addition to one of the biggest lawsuits to slam the industry during the 90's, the result of a riot at a Youngstown prison operated by CCA, the state has had numerous escapes and murders at other private prisons. And in a rather blatant handout to the industry, the state of Ohio is even going to pay to help train the guards at the private prisons. On the one hand, this is good because guards at private prisons rarely if ever receive as much training as they need, but this is something that should really be paid for by the companies who buy the prisons and want to assume responsibility for operating them.