Private dream, public reality
A reality could be the lowest bidder could guard many of "Americas Most Wanted" with guards who have wages that match McDonald's. Middle Tennessee State University criminologist Frank Lee said ``Private prisons don't work,''(9 ).
A 1996 report by the General Accounting Office, based on studies comparing costs of private and public prisons in five states, concluded there wasn't much evidence that private prisons help save money. Also a 1999 study by the Justice Department and the National Institute of Corrections of a Wackenhut-managed facility for the Bureau of Prisons in Taft, Calif., concluded that "the Taft privatization experiment will not save taxpayers money."(10 ).
When savings can be shown they can be marginal. Researchers at Louisiana State University's School of Social Work, found Wackenhut's Allen Parish are just marginally cheaper $22.93 Vs $26.60 for a nearby government institution(11 ).
Barry Holman, policy analyst with the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, said, "they haven't been successful at what they're doing, that they haven't done well from a financial-savings standpoint, and they haven't done well from prisoner-safety and public-safety standpoints." (12 ).
A study in 2004 showed that private prisons received more than 600 million in government subsidies that don't get calculated into the states vs. privatization ratio (13).
Dangers to Staff
Six Colorado private prisons were fined $131,000 for failing to staff mandatory positions. This was the second time that fines were levied against the Crowley County Correctional Facility since a riot broke out and an audit exposed staffing problems at the prisons (14 ).
Within the first two months of Georgia first privately run prison state inspectors found lax security, filthy conditions, sloppy record keeping and poor tracking of inmates(15 ).
A report on a private prison run by Wackenhut said it had inadequate staffing, inexperienced supervisors, low pay, high turnover, heavy overtime and a lack of knowledge about gangs(16).