The Unethical Privatization of Prisons

THE UNETHICAL PRIVATIZATION OF PRISONS 1

TheUnethical Privatization of Prisons

Bondurant, B.(2013). Privatization of prisons and prisoner healthcare: Addressingthe extent of prisoners` right to healthcare. New England Journalon Criminal &amp Civil Confinement, 39(2), 407-426.

Brittany Bondurant is an associate attorney at Lewis BrisboisBisgaard &amp Smith LLP in Boston. She is an accomplished lawyerand correspondent for various newspapers. The author explores theright of prisoners to health care and whether the private prisonprovides quality health care to inmates. The author inclines to themethodology of comparing prisoners’ experiences from variousprivate prisons. He also uses the Eighth Amendment that prohibits thecruel and unusual punishment for prisoners as the basis for hisargument. According to him, health is an expensive function and whenprivate institutions take it as an auxiliary function they may notbe in a capacity to fill some gaps. Also, he points out that privateprisons weigh the costs against the return, and they seek to maximizethe latter. He concludes by indicating that it is unethical tosubject prisoners to private institutions that do not have acomprehensive correction approach.

The author shares similar sentiments with Burkhardt (2014) in hisarticle Private Prisons in Public Discourse: Measuring MoralLegitimacy, that private correctional facilities put their interestbeyond that of the greater good of the public. The article is a pointof reference for the research paper since it is specific toprisoners’ experiences. It will also be a primary reference whenarguing that it is unethical to subject prisoners to privatecorrection facilities.

Burkhardt, B. C.(2014). Private prisons in public discourse: Measuring morallegitimacy. Sociological Focus, 47(4), 279-298.DOI:10.1080/00380237.2014.940264

Burkhardt is an associate professor of sociology at Oregon StateUniversity. The article explores the question of how privatization ofprisons modifies the effects of punishment. The article follows anempirical study by borrowing insights from Emile Durkheim to assessthe role of privatization in the United States.

According to the study, punishing people in the society should be therole of the state. An insight into the role of private prisons inAmerica shows that most of the private institution work towardsself-interest without considering effects of their actions to thepublic. State prisons work for the public interest. Therefore, thestate should be very careful when involving the private institutionsin corrective functions. The article concludes that the privatesector defies the ethics of punishment in the prison institutions.

Cabral, S.,Lazzarini, S. G. &amp Azevedo, P.F. (2013). Private entrepreneurs inpublic services: A longitudinal examination of outsourcing andstatization of prisons. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal,7(1), 6-25. DOI: 10.1002/sej.1149.

Cabral is a professor of management at the Federal School ofManagement. Lazzarini is also a professor of business management atSt Louis University. They review both qualitative and quantitativeliterature to arrive at their conclusion. According to the authors,the partnership that exists between the government and privateinvestors enhances the delivery of services. According to them, it isnot unethical to pass the role of correction to the privateinstitutions. They further provide that individual institutionsshould be held responsible for any unethical practices.

The authors’ findings concur with those of Wright (2010) that thecurrent rate of imprisonment would best be handled by both the publicand private institutions. It will inform the paper of the changesthat should be made to the private institution to improve the qualityof correction and rehabilitation.

D`Amico, D. J.(2009). The business ethics of incarceration: The moral implicationsof treating prisons like businesses. Reason Papers, 31,125-147.

D’Amico is an assistant professor of economics at Loyola Universityin New Orleans. He is the author of various works that relate tobusiness ethics. As a business professional, D’Amico approaches thesubject from an economic perspective by enquiring whether theprivatizing prisons erode the moral component. He uses a qualitativeapproach to analyzing the different theories that explain correctionand incarceration as a public good or deterrence. The articleconcludes that public prisons are more effective and ethical inhandling the issues of prisoners than the private correctionalfacilities. The private institutions are likely to have unsavorytendencies that may lead them in making exorbitant profits frompeoples’ miseries.

The writer is an agreement with the finding of Burkhardt (2014) andBondurant (2013) that the ethical considerations concerning thetreatment of inmates are likely to be compromised with the idea ofmaking profits. However, he also indicates that even the publicfacilities have been involved in many unethical practices, and theyare also likely to infringe various rights when there is no effectivesupervision. The article will inform the final paper on thepossibility of private correction facilities foregoing some of theethical requirements of the patients to increase their earnings.

Dolovich, S. (2012).How privatization thinks: The case of prisons. Published inGovernment by contract: Outsourcing and american democracy, JodyFreeman and Martha Minow, eds., Harvard University Press (2009),07-07.

Sharon Dolovich is a law professor at the University of California inLos Angeles. In his article, he looks at the debate surrounding thedebate of contracting the government functions to privateinstitutions. He explores the question of whether there iscomparative operation efficiency or the rhetoric of the interest ofeach institution defines the effectiveness of service delivery. Heuses the methodology of comparing the generalized important roleplayed by the private institutions with the outcomes of thecorrective functions. The methodology helps in dieseling conventionalbeliefs that private prisons discharge their duties for the bestinterest of the inmates.

According to the author, institutions set priorities that help themin setting objectives. His article finds out that in the case ofprivate prison, the institutions put their priorities before those ofthe prisoners and the good of the society. He agrees with Burkhardt(2014) and Bondurant (2013) that it is not ethical to privatize thecorrection role of the state. Therefore, the ethical treatments ofprisoners miss not a priority, and they may reduce the spending toincrease their returns.

Fulcher, P. A.(2012). Hustle and flow: Prison privatization fueling the prisonindustrial complex. Washburn Law Journal, 51(3).Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2097864

Fulcher is an associate professor of law previously working at theMarshall Law School. Currently, he works in the office of the publicdefender in Maryland. In his article, he explores whether the wave ofprivatization of prisons is the major course of prison industrialcomplex. He uses a qualitative approach to reviewing the literatureon the privatization of prisons and analyzing the ideas of variousauthors. According to him, prison industrial complex is a result ofthe political and economic influence that leads to more privateprisons. It is an unethical move since it has become a business andthe proprietors would wish for many people behind bars. Also, as theauthor indicates, private prisons have been the avenues of exploitingthe prisoners to generate income for private individuals. The prisonsexploit their skills to generate income. He concludes by recommendingfor the dissolution of all the private prisons and amendment of lawsthat reduce the number of people going to prison.

The author agrees with findings of Dolovich (2012) that privateinstitutions have priorities that serve their interests and,therefore, not favorable for correction function. It will be aprimary reference for the final paper to depict how private prisonsunethically turn the correction into a business. Their interests arenot on rehabilitation but having more people behind bars every day.

Hogan, N. L.,Lambert, E. G., Jenkins, M., &amp Hall, D. E. (2009). The impact ofjob characteristics on private prison staff: Why management shouldcare. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 34(3-4),151-165.

Hogan is a professor of correction and human at Ferris StateUniversity. She has a wealth of experience in correction theories,policies and criminal behavior. Jenkins is a professor of criminologyat the University of Toledo while Lambert is a professor of criminaljustice at the University of Mississippi. The authors explore whetherthe job satisfaction of workers in the private prisons significantlyaffects the outcomes of corrections. They use the methodology of acase study by singling the Midwestern Private Facility.

From their findings, it is evident that most of the workers in theprivate institutions are demoralized by the nature of their work. Theprisons concentrate on age and ethnicity of the workers rather thanon professional qualification. With an unmotivated workforce, theservices given to the prisoners may not be the best. Although theyare convicts, they deserve to be handled by professionals.

Although the authors use a different approach, they arrive at thesame conclusion with Dolovich (2012) that the priorities of theprivate prisons are not focused on the interest of the prisoners. The article will support the idea of the inappropriateness of theprivate prisons in the correction process. The lack of closesupervision from government authorities exposes the prisoners to poorservices, and this affects the rehabilitation process.

Jing, Y. (2010).Prison privatization: A perspective on core governmental functions.Crime, law and social change, 54(3), 263-278.

Jing is an experienced scholar who holds the position Professor ofPublic Administration and Foreign Affairs at Fudan University. In hisarticle, he explores the question of whether prison privatization isa demonstration of the political rationality of the government.According to him, it is unethical to place the monopoly of power toprivate institutions that work for their interests rather thanserving the public. He approaches the paper from the methodology ofcomparing the magnitude of privatization of prisons in 50 states. Heconcludes that political influence triggers the establishment ofprivate prisons. The trend places people dignity and care in thehands of third-party institutions that have their objectives.

The author agrees with Hogan et al. (2009) that it is private prisonscannot be efficient to work for the interests of the public whiletrying to maximize their returns. It will be a reference for thepaper in discussing the unethical nature of transferring the power ofthe government to a third party and expect people to receive adignified treatment.

King, M. T. (2012).A History of Private Prisons. Prison Privatization: The ManyFacets of a Controversial Industry, 1(11).

Mathew King is the founder of Tian Consulting firm and a doctoralgraduate of the University of Chicago. He explores the question ofwhether the idea of having governments contact private investors toset prisons is an acceptable ideology in the society. He reviewsliterature by different scholars to develop a masterpiece thatexplains the history of prison privatization. According to King, thegovernment delivers services to the public either directly or throughthe engagement of other parties. Most of the private institutionshave been effective in delivering the services. The efficiency ofthese institutions and the increased number of prisoners led to thegovernment allowing people o put up private prisons.

The author agrees with D’Amico (2009) that most of the privateinstitutions are efficient while some offer low-quality services asdo government institutions. The article will be imperative inlayingthe introduction in the paper since it will be a reference inexplaining how private prisons cropped up in the country.

McDonald, D. C.(1994). Public imprisonment by private means: The re-emergence ofprivate prisons and jails in the United States, the United Kingdom,and Australia. The British Journal of Criminology, 34,29-48.

McDonald is a professor of at Stetson University College of Law andhas several works under his name. In this article, he tries to findanswers to the question of whether the re-introduction of privateprisons in the developed countries serves a similar purpose that theyhad in the 80s. The article uses a qualitative approach to drawingconclusions from the work authored by various authors. According tothe author, the re-emergence of private prisons confirms thewillingness of the state to transfer its powers to another practice.The article concludes that the big number of private prisons in thedevelop countries reflect the trend observed in the 80s.

He agrees with King (2012) that there is an element of politicalinfluence in the increasing number of private correction facilities.The article will be used alongside the one written by King (2012) togive a brief history of the private prisons and some of the factorsthat trigger their establishment.

Pelaez, V. &ampPrensa, D. (2008). The prison industry in the United States: Bigbusiness or a new form of slavery. Global Research. Web.Retrieved on 31 Jan 2016 fromhttp://www.globalresearch.ca/the-prison-industry-in-the-united-states-big-business-or-a-new-form-of-slavery/8289

Pelaez is a celebrated columnist and correspondent working for theMoscow News. She has worked for the El Dianiro, a Spanish LanguageNews Paper in New York. In this piece, she explores the question ofwhether the private prisons are a new form of slavery for theinmates. She uses observations and fact drawn from human right watchgroups and other non-profit organization to depict the unethicalconditions in which prisoners in private facilities live. Accordingto her findings, rich investors who own correctional facilitiesexploit the inmates by involving them as laborers in theirfacilities. Since they have control over the prisons, they controlthe movement of the visitors, and they perpetrate the unethicalbehavior.

According to her, this is the newest form of slavery at the hands ofpeople given authority by the government. She shares similarsentiments with D’Amico (2009) that the private prisons lookforward to amassing profits from the miseries of other people. Itwill be a reference for the final paper when discussing the unethicaltendencies resulting from the privatization of prisons.

Shefer, G., &ampLiebling, A. (2008). Prison privatization In search of abusiness-like atmosphere? Criminology and Criminal Justice,8(3), 261-278. DOI: 10.1177/1748895808092429

Liebling is a professor of criminology at the University ofCambridge. Shafer is a post-doctoral researcher at Kings College inLondon. The two authors set to explore the relationship between theprisoners and the staff in private prisons. The article inclines toanalyze and reviewing existing literature to arrive at conclusions.The two authors agree with Hogan et al. (2009) that a significantnumber of workers in private prisons are not qualified to performtheir functions. However, the article found out that public prisonersare notorious for their poor services and most private facilitiesoutdo them.

They conclude that the role of the article was not to argue forprivatization but to dispel the romantic argument for public prisonsin place of private facilities. The article will be a primaryreference when giving divergent views on the unethical nature ofprivate prisons.

Sigler, M. (2010).Private prisons, public functions, and the meaning of punishment.Florida State University Law Review, 38(1), 1-29. Available atSocial Science Research Network: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1650872

Mary Sigler is a distinguished educator and professor of law at theUniversity of Arizona. In this article, she tries to find out whetherprivate correction facilities demean the process of correction andrehabilitation. She makes her conclusions by drawing together theworks of different authors with interest on the topic. According toher, rehabilitation is one of the activities that the governmentshould dearly invest in especially in the current trend where one inevery 100 Americans is behind bars.

She considers it unethical to pass the correction role to privateinstitutions that might be in business and not to punish and correctindividuals. She contrasts with Shefer and Liebling (2008) who claimthat private prisons have efficient services for the prisoners. Thefinal paper will use the author’s ideas to discuss theappropriateness of public prisoners in administering rehabilitation.

Taylor, P., &ampCooper, C. (2008). ‘It was absolute hell’: Inside the privateprison. Capital &amp Class, 32(3), 3-30. Doi:10.1177/030981680809600101

Taylor and Cooper are experienced investigative journalists workingfor Sven Network. The authors try to find an answer as to whether therole of correction should be passed on to other parties other thanthe government especially with the horrifying experiences given byinmates from various private prisons. The authors did a case studyfor HMP Kilmarnock, a private prison in Scotland. The research foundout that the prison is corroded with demoralized personnel andprisoners exposed to sexual, health and harassment risks. There is ahigh turnover rate of workers, and this explains theirdissatisfaction. As the authors note, with such an environment, therole of correction is highly compromised.

The findings of the two authors agree with those of Sigler (2010)that the private institutions cannot effectively carry outrehabilitative functions. It will inform the final paper on some ofthe risks and unethical conditions that prisoners find themselves inwhen in private prisons.

Wright, K. A.(2010). Strange bedfellows? Reaffirming rehabilitation and prisonprivatization. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 49(1),74-90.

The author argues for the private prisons. He reviews the existingand makes the conclusions that the private prisons are here to stay.The article indicates that despite the empirical evidence arguingagainst the private facilities, all is needed putting them in abroader sense to approach the penology function comprehensively. Theauthor also indicates that’s the government can establishevaluation indicators to check their performances. Unlike the otherarticles that are entirely against or for the idea, the author ofthis work gives a recommendation for the private prisons on thebelief that they will continue with their activities.

The article will give the final paper a recommendation of what thegovernment can do to improve the conditions of private prisons orabolish them altogether.

References

Bondurant, B.(2013). Privatization of prisons and prisoner healthcare: Addressingthe extent of prisoners` right to healthcare. New England Journalon Criminal &amp Civil Confinement, 39(2), 407-426.

Burkhardt, B. C.(2014). Private prisons in public discourse: Measuring morallegitimacy. Sociological Focus, 47(4), 279-298.DOI:10.1080/00380237.2014.940264.

Cabral, S.,Lazzarini, S. G. &amp Azevedo, P.F. (2013). Private entrepreneurs inpublic services: A longitudinal examination of outsourcing andstatization of prisons. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal,7(1), 6-25. DOI: 10.1002/sej.1149.

D`Amico, D. J.(2009). The business ethics of incarceration: The moral implicationsof treating prisons like businesses. Reason Papers, 31,125-147.

Dolovich, S. (2012).How privatization thinks: The case of prisons. Published inGovernment by contract: Outsourcing and american democracy, JodyFreeman and Martha Minow, eds., Harvard University Press (2009),07.

Fulcher, P. A.(2012). Hustle and flow: Prison privatization fueling the prisonindustrial complex. Washburn Law Journal, 51(3).Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2097864.

Hogan, N. L.,Lambert, E. G., Jenkins, M., &amp Hall, D. E. (2009). The impact ofjob characteristics on private prison staff: Why management shouldcare. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 34(3-4),151-165.

Jing, Y. (2010).Prison privatization: A perspective on core governmental functions.Crime, law and social change, 54(3-4), 263-278.

King, M. T. (2012).A history of private prisons. Prison privatization: The manycacets of a controversial industry, 1(11).

McDonald, D. C.(1994). Public imprisonment by private means: the re-emergence ofprivate prisons and jails in the United States, the United Kingdom,and Australia. The British Journal of Criminology, 29-48.

Pelaez, V. &ampPrensa, D. (2008). The prison industry in the United States: Bigbusiness or a new form of slavery. Global Research. Web.Retrieved on 31 Jan 2016 fromhttp://www.globalresearch.ca/the-prison-industry-in-the-united-states-big-business-or-a-new-form-of-slavery/8289

Shefer, G., &ampLiebling, A. (2008). Prison privatization In search of abusiness-like atmosphere? Criminology and Criminal Justice,8(3), 261-278. DOI: 10.1177/1748895808092429.

Sigler, M. (2010).Private prisons, public functions, and the meaning of punishment.Florida State University Law Review, 38(1), 1-29. Available atSocial Science Research Network: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1650872.

Taylor, P., &ampCooper, C. (2008). ‘It was absolute hell’: Inside the privateprison. Capital &amp Class, 32(3), 3-30. Doi:10.1177/030981680809600101.

Wright, K. A.(2010). Strange bedfellows? Reaffirming rehabilitation and prisonprivatization. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 49(1),74-90.

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