Private Prisons Can Work
A favorite enemy of the criminal-justice reform movement reentered the headlines after a report in Florida showed widespread problems in that state’s privately run prisons. While the report’s contents certainly justify lawmakers’ scrutiny, much of the discourse around private prisons is misguided. The reality is that private corrections companies deserve no more vilification than their government-operated counterparts. The abolition of private prisons—two years ago, President Biden forbade the Department of Justice to renew contracts with private corrections providers—would have a minimal positive impact on the criminal-justice system. And abolishing private corrections may actually forfeit an opportunity for genuine reform: aligning the financial incentives of prisons with better outcomes.
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