Private Prisons

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1. The U.S. holds 25 % of the world's prison population (1), but only 5 % of the world's population. This huge number of prison population stretches the state run facilities and has given birth to the private prison industry. From just about 5 private facilities in 1987, the number of private prisons has soared to over 264 facilities housing over 99,000 inmates.


This is because with lesser and lesser Federal and State budgets for social expenditure, profit making organisations such as these are likely to generate extra money for the government through outsourcing instead of being net expenditures.
2. In the American correction system the role of jails is to confine people under lawful detention, compared to prisons where only convicted people are housed. A large proportion of the jail population is pre-trial (estimated 60 %) (3), and in this group neither punishment nor rehabilitation is the motive, it is simply detaining possible, but unproven offenders for reducing the risk to society. The rest of the jail population consists of those who have received very short sentences often for minor offences like drunken driving and petty theft. In an average 1000-bed jail, it has been estimated that the turnover rate is 36 - i.e. 36,000 pass through the system in a year.
Thus jail administrators face very different issues than the prison population. Firstly the background and health issues facing this population is largely unknown, and they must be hyper vigilant that anyone in their custody do not suddenly turn violent or develop sudden illness. ...
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