ITPI Resources and Publications

The Cost of Private Prisons

The private prison industry claims that governments can save money by privatizing prisons, but what does the evidence actually indicate? This backgrounder summarizes recent research and state reports related to private prison costs, and then discusses some common, yet dangerously flawed and unsound tactics employed to make private prisons appear cost effective.

Download the backgrounder:

Learn more: 


Infrastructure Justice: Building Equity into Infrastructure Financing

Public funding of infrastructure is well known to be the least expensive way to finance major infrastructure projects. But in light of the pressure governments face to aggressively pursue private funds for public infrastructure, we believe it is critical to clarify our goals and principles so that Public-Private Partnerships are truly structured as win-win-win propositions.

Out of Control: The Coast-to-Coast Failures of Outsourcing Public Services to For-Profit Corporations

Eager for quick cash, state and local governments across America have for decades handed over control of critical public services and assets to corporations that promise to handle them better, faster and cheaper.  Unfortunately for taxpayers, not only has outsourcing these services failed to keep this promise, but too often it undermines transparency, accountability, shared prosperity and competition – the underpinnings of democracy itself.  As state legislatures soon reconvene, policy makers likely will consider more outsourcing proposals.  Out of Control: The Coast-to-Coast Failures of Outsourcing Public Services to For-Profit Corporations serves as a cautionary tale for lawmakers and taxpayers alike.

Download the full report:

Making the Grade? Questions to Ask About School Services Privatization

This guide provides examples of important questions that decision makers should consider when faced with a proposed privatization effort. Advocates, including school service personnel, teachers, parents, and members of the community can use these questions to ensure that decision makers keep students’ and the broader district’s best interest at the heart of these conversations. They should be able to answer each of these questions before making the decision to privatize school services. These questions can be helpful to use during meetings with school administrators, in testimony at school board hearings, and even in meetings with allies to draw attention to problems with a proposed privatization initiative. While this is not a complete or exhaustive guide, it provides a framework for examining and evaluating school services privatization.

Criminal: How Lockup Quotas and "Low-Crime Taxes" Guarantee Profits for Private Prison Corporations

This report discusses the use of prison bed occupancy guarantee clauses in prison privatization contracts and explores how bed occupancy guarantees undermine criminal justice policy and democratic, accountable government. The report sheds light on the for-profit private prison industry’s reliance on high prison populations, and how these occupancy guarantee provisions directly benefit its bottom line. Also discussed are the prevalence of bed guarantee clauses, drawing on set of contracts that ITPI obtained through state open records requests. We also address how occupancy guarantees have harmed states, focusing on the experiences of Arizona, Colorado, and Ohio — three states that have agreed to these provisions to detrimental consequences. Lastly, the report discusses our recommendation that governments can and should reject prison occupancy guarantees.

Download the full report:

FACT SHEET: The Impact of Outsourcing on the Middle Class and Communities of Color

Recent research shows that outsourcing public services to private companies and Wall Street banks increases income inequality and adversely impacts communities of color. This fact sheet explains how outsourcing degrades the middle class, creates poverty level jobs, and disproportionally affects the African-American Community.

The Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda

Eager for quick cash, state and local governments across America are handing over control of critical public services and assets to corporations that promise to handle them better, faster and cheaper. Unfortunately for taxpayers, not only has outsourcing these services failed to keep this promise, but too often it undermines transparency, accountability, shared prosperity and competition – the underpinnings of democracy itself.

The Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda will help taxpayers reclaim control of our democracy. And state and local lawmakers who champion these proposals will stand on the side of taxpayers - and plain common sense.

Backgrounder Brief: Insourcing

This backgrounder brief provides examples of cases where, when cost savings aren't realized or service quality declines, many governmental entities are turning to reverse privatization, or "insourcing," to bring contracted functions back in-house. It explains the benefits of insourcing for the general public interest and addresses examples from multiple levels of government across a wide array of sectors including corrections, water, IT services, and more. It includes an appendix with more examples.