Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More of the Myth of Economic Benefits

An unfortunate article from Ohio this past weekend describes all the wonderful reasons to further privatize the state's correctional system. The author discusses all the great economic benefits of a private facility in Youngstown, and how those benefits could be further realized by increased privatization. You might recall my writing about how Ohio's new secretary of corrections just so happened to be employed at high-level positions within CCA (and with a company consulting for them), for years.

The article however bases its conclusions on some details this author is rather skeptical of. For starters, the author assumes an average salary of $35,000 per year for correctional staff, which is about $5,0000 - $7,000 higher than what I'm used to seeing for COs at private facilities (Because, mind you, they're paid a lot less than employees at state-run facilities).

However, the most troubling assumption is one taken directly from John Kasich, Ohio's new governor. Mr. Kasich wants to privatize prisons more in order to save money, because corrections takes up such a sizeable portion of the state budget. Never mind the fact that privatizing prisons has been repeatedly shown to have, at best, very negligble cost savings over state-run facilities (which are more than negated by the extremely sub-standard quality of private prison operations). It should not be at all surprising though, considering this is the traditional conservative approach to politics; ignore facts, decry government waste, and then steer huge government contracts with little oversight to wealthy allies. Apparently, it's an awfully effective system. This sort of direct conflict of interest is practically omnipresent in the private prison industry.

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