Private dream, public reality
An administrator for Correctional Services, Norman L. Townsel Jr said, " Really what we're getting is people who, if they didn't work here, would be working at the local Burger King or out in the fields,"(17 ).
Jerry O'Brien a Correctional consultant said in a report, "Faced with the prospect of working in a prison or a Wal-Mart for $8.50 an hour, many would judge the retail sales job better, despite the importance of the criminal justice system,"(18 ).
Another consultant, George Vose, observed that guards at a private prison in Santa Rosa New Mexico were insufficient in number, generally had less than a year of corrections experience and were unprepared to handle gang members. He recommended that the state buy or lease Wackenhut prisons "to protect their interests."(19 ).
Female workers at a private prison in Crowley County Colorado filed a sexual harassment suit. The suit alleges that the workers where "groped, pawed and physically assaulted by male management and male co-workers.". The suit also says that when the female employees complained about this treatment they where given dangerous assignments in retaliation(20 ).
Four Corrections supervisors were fired at another private prison, in an unrelated and much earlier allegation of Sexual harassment at Kit Carson Correctional Facility in Colorado(21 ).
In 1997 the US Supreme court ruled 5-4 that private prison guards don't have "qualified immunity" from inmate lawsuits. This immunity protects government employees from work related lawsuits. Justice Stephen Breyer said, that the job "reveals nothing special enough about the job . . . that would warrant providing these private prison guards with a governmental immunity." (22 ).
Another problem that has plagued private prisons is that recreation and rehabilitative programs can be "grossly inadequate."(23).
Consider, many of the inmates who are now are in prison are victims of deinstitutionalization(24 ). They were released from mental institutions. This was to prevent abuse of Institutionalized patients. Wouldn't these people and the public in general be best served in a therapeutic setting(25 )? How will the mentally ill be treated in a private prison? What of the safety of fellow inmates from violently mentally ill inmates? Or others who might be taken advantage of by other inmates? Remember all of this will be done by the lowest bidder who offers "McDonald's" like wages(26 ).