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Pros and cons of public, private prisons

This is a discussion on Pros and cons of public, private prisons within the Today's News forums, part of the Public Discussions category; :thumbs: Oklahoma that accept inmates from other states with a $2 fee per inmate, per day. Capitol Legislators grapple with ...

  1. #1
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    Pros and cons of public, private prisons

    :thumbs:
    Oklahoma that accept inmates from other states with a $2 fee per inmate, per day.

    Capitol
    Legislators grapple with pros and cons of public, private prisons
    January 15, 2008
    OKLAHOMA CITY – The audit of Oklahoma’s corrections system issued two weeks ago may help lawmakers settle a long-standing argument this year. Nonetheless, the audit’s findings do not preclude lawmakers from continuing their argument during the 2008 session if they so choose.
    Some legislators favor expanding contracts with private prisons, while others advocate construction of new state-owned prisons. The consultants who prepared the audit agreed with both camps, recommending the state deal with its burgeoning prison population with a multifaceted approach.
    “It depends,” said Ken McGinnis, a partner with consulting firm MGT of America, when asked if private prisons are a better option than state facilities. The firm’s analysis shows only a slight difference in operating costs between private and state prisons, once differences in facilities, missions and operations are taken into effect. Furthermore, the wording of the state’s contract with private prison systems can make all the difference between a substantial savings for the state or a public policy nightmare.
    Though the percentage of Oklahoma inmates housed in private prisons has dropped from 27 percent in 2001 to 19 percent in late 2007, the state is still a national leader in the use of private prisons. Regionally, Oklahoma is second only to New Mexico in its reliance on private prisons; Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas and Kansas do not use private prisons at all.
    It is no coincidence that Oklahoma’s use of private prisons grew exponentially since the late 1990s, after inmate early release programs were eliminated in 1996, and the state adopted a policy in 1999 of requiring certain violent offenders to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
    Then as today, the prison population grew faster than the state could add prison beds. The MGT audit found that lengthier prison terms in Oklahoma have driven the rise in prison population, which is expected to grow from the current level of 25,000 to nearly 29,000 by 2016.
    State prisons in Oklahoma cost more than private prisons primarily because of the age and condition of state facilities, some of which are 75 to 100 years old. Newer prisons are designed with safety in mind, providing guards with clear sight lines and other safety features that require fewer guards to monitor prisoners. New prisons are cheaper to run due to the fewer staff hours required and other efficiencies in design and operation.
    For medium-security facilities, the difference in price works out to $47.14 per inmate per day at a private facility, versus $51.94 at a state facility.
    Deciding which option is preferable requires lawmakers to first ask what their needs are, the consultants said. If time is limited, private prisons are the better option. State bidding and contract laws extend the timetable for new construction to three years or more. Considering that it has been more than 20 years since the state built its last prison, the state’s unfamiliarity with the process may extend the design and construction phase even further. On the other hand, private prison companies have the expertise to produce a new facility in about a year’s time.
    The consultants strongly recommended the state fund the Corrections Department’s plan to contract with Corrections Corporation of America for 660 new maximum-security beds at the Davis facility based on the time factor.
    “DOC literally has no other option that would provide this number of maximum-security prison beds in fiscal 2009,” the audit reads.
    The audit estimated it would cost the state $65.36 per inmate per day to operate a 660-bed, maximum-security unit, while a private operator could do it for $62.34. Both estimates include more than $4 in associated indirect costs, including administrative and medical expenses.
    “The key factor in the comparison, however, is the private contractor rate used,” the audit reads. The consultants identified a “break-even point” of $61.03 per inmate per day – when a private contractor’s requested per diem rate exceeds $61.03, it becomes more economical for the state to build its own facility.
    Private prison contracts are not a panacea for all corrections problems, the audit shows. The more heavily a corrections system relies on private contractors, the harder it is for the state to control those contractors.
    “A case in point is DOC’s experience with Cornell; the department’s inability to come to terms with the contractor’s demands lead to the loss of critical bedspace,” the audit reads. “Fortunately, at the time the displaced inmates could be housed at other department facilities. The loss of that number of beds today would create a crisis.”
    In 2007, the state abruptly parted ways with Cornell, the company that owns and operates the Great Plains Correctional Facility in Hinton. Though the $47 per inmate per day rate the state had offered the company is somewhat higher than is paid to other private prisons, Cornell officials said it wasn’t enough for the company to pay its bills. The facility closed in April, only to reopen in September to house inmates from Arizona, which had offered a better rate.
    The consultants from MGT cautioned against contracts that allow either party to cancel at will. While the provision gives the state more options in cases of poor performance, it also can put the state in jeopardy if the private prison cancels the contract at a time when the state has nowhere to put the displaced prisoners. The Corrections Department should foster competition by contracting with several different companies, and keep the option open for lease/purchase agreements with contractors, the consultants recommended.
    High turnover rates at private prisons are also a cause for concern, as inexperienced guards may pose a safety risk. While the average turnover rate at state prisons is around 16 percent, private prisons’ turnover rate averages about 52 percent. The Lawton Correctional Facility’s turnover rate of 95 percent is “clearly unacceptable and likely to affect facility performance,” the audit found.
    While legislative leaders have offered little comment on the audit’s findings since it was released Jan. 4, two Democrat lawmakers issued statements in the days following the audit’s release that evidence a preference for state-owned facilities.
    State Sen. Jeff Rabon, D-Hugo, said the state needs to build a new 2,500-inmate, state-owned facility within his district.
    State Rep. Brian Renegar, D-McAlester, said he plans to file legislation to penalize private prisons in Oklahoma that accept inmates from other states with a $2 fee per inmate, per day.
    Copyright © 2008 The Journal Record All Rights Reserved
    101 N. Robinson Ave., Ste. 101, Oklahoma City, OK, 73102 |
    P.O. Box 26370, Oklahoma City, OK, 73126-0370 | (405) 235-3100
    415 S. Boston Ave., Ste. 101, Tulsa, OK 74103 | (918) 295-0098
    The Journal Record - Legislators grapple with pros and cons of public, private prisons

  2. #2
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    Re: Pros and cons of public, private prisons

    he audit estimated it would cost the state $65.36 per inmate per day to operate a 660-bed, maximum-security unit, while a private operator could do it for $62.34. Both estimates include more than $4 in associated indirect costs, including administrative and medical expenses.
    “The key factor in the comparison, however, is the private contractor rate used,” the audit reads. The consultants identified a “break-even point” of $61.03 per inmate per day – when a private contractor’s requested per diem rate exceeds $61.03, it becomes more economical for the state to build its own facility.
    Private prison contracts are not a panacea for all corrections problems, the audit shows. The more heavily a corrections system relies on private contractors, the harder it is for the state to control those contractors.
    It would be Hell to be held hostage once the state became heavily dependent on private prisons.

    I wonder if the state took steps to build a new prison, would CCA decide that it's time to sell one of its new prisons to the state like it did with MBCC at McLoud, OK?
    "Give me six lines written by the most honorable of men, and I will find an excuse in them to hang him."

    Cardinal Richelieu


    "A fish rots from the head down."

    Some forgotten state prison administrator in reference to poorly led prison agencies.

    The Bald Man and the Fly


    There was once a Bald Man who sat down after work on a hot
    summer's day. A Fly came up and kept buzzing about his bald pate,
    and stinging him from time to time. The Man aimed a blow at his
    little enemy, but his palm came on his head instead;
    again the Fly tormented him, but this time the Man was wiser and
    said:


    "You will only injure yourself if you
    take notice of despicable enemies."

  3. #3
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    Re: Pros and cons of public, private prisons

    This soundslike a good deal to me. This way it is a bit more incintive for a couple of things.

    1) The private prison that we already have here would be forced to not kick out our I/M's just for a tad more money.

    2) They decide to sell the prison to ODOC and we get a 1000 bed facility that is ready to roll w/o having to wait 20 years to have one built. :thumbs:

    3) Maybe it will just bring an end to the entire private prison problem started by Uncle Frank.

  4. #4
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    Re: Pros and cons of public, private prisons

    The private prison at Hinton was built before Frank Keating became Governor. That Democrat who got himself ran out of office, David Walters, was Governor then.
    "Give me six lines written by the most honorable of men, and I will find an excuse in them to hang him."

    Cardinal Richelieu


    "A fish rots from the head down."

    Some forgotten state prison administrator in reference to poorly led prison agencies.

    The Bald Man and the Fly


    There was once a Bald Man who sat down after work on a hot
    summer's day. A Fly came up and kept buzzing about his bald pate,
    and stinging him from time to time. The Man aimed a blow at his
    little enemy, but his palm came on his head instead;
    again the Fly tormented him, but this time the Man was wiser and
    said:


    "You will only injure yourself if you
    take notice of despicable enemies."

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    Re: Pros and cons of public, private prisons

    http://http://www.ccpoa.tv/

    See Private Prisons Public Nightmare.

  6. #6
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    Re: Pros and cons of public, private prisons

    Private prisons are interesting and will not be going away anytime soon. They serve a purpose in some areas. My view is based on some experience with Cornel, CCA, and GEO so far. I see a turn over that is amazing, vacated pots, with mandated long shifs the norm.

    My opinion..No comment, though they are some good staff there.

    Good reading: PCI Home rap sheet area. It covers most of the companies out there.
    Last edited by santipecos; 03-02-2008 at 01:27 PM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Pros and cons of public, private prisons

    There are no "pros" to private prisons. Law enforcement is an essential government function, which should be controlled by persons accountable to the government and ultimately the people. Private prisons are controlled by persons accountable to the corporation and ultimately their shareholders. There is no transparency with corporations as they consider some information to be proprietary. In other words: Private prisons = bad.

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    Re: Pros and cons of public, private prisons

    I agree, and I'm an advocate for eliminating or privatizing most of government.
    No disclosure needed: I'm now a private citizen, and free to speak my mind!

  9. #9
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    Re: Pros and cons of public, private prisons

    I've never been able to figure out how they're legal.
    You think about it....a non-government entity carrying out the orders(and enforcement) of the court ? Something about that doesn't seem right.And do private hacks also take an oath similar to the one we did ?

  10. #10
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    Re: Pros and cons of public, private prisons

    Okie,

    The ones I've seen pick up their "powers" from a local sheriff and belong to a governmental body (county). Out here they are mandated to get Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOS) certified, background checks, credit checks, et, etc, and are county employees.

    As for my personal opinion of them , I have to stick to my previous no comment line. I see issues daily, but I saw issues at every joint I've worked or visited, same as everyone else here. But yeah, low pay rates, long hours, understaffed, etc. Do they have some good folks working there...yeah. I've been seeing a lot of retiring Bureau and TDC types coming through lately.


    Are they cheaper... just look under Sallyport or Welcome to USAspending.gov , it may surprise you on end cost. It did me. A lot are political in nature, compliments of certain members of Congress and Senate, and are damn hard to shut down.


    End result is my Bureau retirement in 2 and a tad yrs, but I am not counting.... Am I trying to get back to a med/pen, oh yeah, but found out it is hard.

 

 

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