Prisons, Detention and Public Safety
• Disaster relief
• Emergency services
• Policing and security
• Immigration detention centers
• Prison and detention center food and medical services
Public safety is among the most basic of core government functions. In our times of greatest vulnerability, we rely on 911 call centers, paramedics, firefighters, and other public safety officers. Repeatedly, the quality and reliability of these vital services have significantly declined when cities have entrusted them to private contractors.
Quality differences such as slower response times of ambulances and paramedics can mean life or death, especially in rural areas. In one recent example, a woman died in Tate County, Tennessee, after the private contract ambulance took longer to arrive at the scene than the public county firefighters.
Beyond privatizing paramedics and ambulances, some cities have hired private firms to provide security services and even write traffic citations. Ensuring that the public’s safety and security is at the heart of these services is difficult when companies are trying to turn a profit.
The privatization of jails and prisons has steadily increased since the 1980’s, as both the construction and operation of prisons has become a big business. Incarceration for profit has caused many problems, as private companies fail to make decisions in the best interest of the inmates or the communities in which the prisons are located. Private prison companies have employed unqualified guards, resorted to excessive violence and cruelty to control inmates, and provided substandard medical care, resulting in unnecessary deaths. Prison privatization has led to numerous lawsuits and litigation, fines, and increased need for federal oversight, at great cost to taxpayers, communities, inmates and their families.
In August 2010, an Arizona state report blamed the poor security, faulty alarms, and general complacency at a for-profit prison in Kingman for the escape of three convicted killers. Two of the escapees are accused of murdering an Oklahoma couple during the escape.
For information about issues related to private prisons in Texas, visit Grassroot Leaderships' blog: Texas Prison Bid'ness
Several informative reports related to prison privatization have released been recently:
Prison Privatization Backgrounder Brief
In The Public Interest, 2011
Gaming the System: How the Political Strategies of Private Prison Companies Promote Ineffective Incarceration Policies
Justice Policy Institute, 2011
Cells for Sale: Understanding Prison Costs and Savings
Ohio Policy Matters, 2011
Prisons for Profit: A Look at Private Prisons
ACLU of Ohio Foundation, 2011
For additional reports, please see the research section on the side bar or visit our research library.
PRESS CONFERENCE & RALLY FOR AN END TO FOR-PROFIT PRISONS
Tuesday, May 7, 11:30 – 1 p.m.
Outside CCA’s Correctional Treatment Facility
19th Street S.E. between Burke and C Streets, Washington DC
CCA is the oldest for-profit prison company in the nation. JOIN US to tell CCA that 30 years of profiting from human misery is nothing to celebrate!Read more »
FORM 10-K IS A TREASURE TROVE OF INFORMATION