Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Poor Oversight

One of my constant gripes about the private prison industry is the lack of oversight and transparency.  Briefly, private prisons in all but 2 states are not required to comply with public records / Freedom of Information laws, as they are private entities.  Many have argued that, because the industry performs an inherently governmental function, that it should be subject to the same sort of transparency that the government must abide by.  Which is certainly a reasonable argument.

The natural consequence of the opacity of the industry is a weak oversight structure.  If the public cannot review information about the way a private prison operates, then that public is ill-equipped to challenge issues that arise within the prison.  Which brings me to this quick link from The American Independent.  The title pretty accurately sums up the main point; "Expanding Private Prison Industry Benefits From Weak Oversight Structure."  It's a really well-written and detailed article that lays out the problem in better terms than I can.  Enjoy!

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