For the past few years, politicians have been trying to put an end to private prisons. Private prisons are prisons that are owned by private firms, notably GEO Group. They profit by overcrowding prisons and extending inmates jail sentences for minor offenses.
Not only are prisons overflowing, inmates are suffering abuse, sexual harassment and emotional manipulation in these facilities. The lack of care and ethics private businesses put into their prisons needs to have stricter laws between the judicial systems and lucrative firms. GEO Group is a private investment group based in Florida that specializes in rehabilitation centers for individuals in custody. The penitentiaries they own are understaffed, unorganized and poorly maintained. Employees are undertrained and underpaid.
There have also been many records of employees having affiliations with gangs, which jeopardizes the safety of inmates and sometimes causes them to be more violent than when they came in. Even worse, a lot of employees are registered sex offenders and reports of sexual abuse in juvenile detentions are on record. Sadly, the private businesses hire their staff already have knowledge of their employee’s checkered past. There are more inmates in American correctional facilities than any other country. Overcrowding is not only expensive, but it is cruel for inmates.
One may think, “The inmate went to jail for doing something illegal, so they deserve it.” This is a common inaccuracy. The punishment is losing their freedom and being confined for a due amount of time, but with the promise of being in a secure environment.
The judiciary system’s intention is not to harm nor torture inmates. The majority of inmates are non-violent criminals with minor offenses. The government’s job is to ensure that their citizens are safe and receive standard civil rights.
Unlike private prisons, the goal of public prisons is to incarcerate individuals who have committed crimes, rehabilitate them and improve their behaviors, then release the back to society in hopes they will improve their lives. Of course, most inmates are not reformed following serving time, but some are. They are not susceptible to success when they keep company with gang members and drug addicts.
The security guards in private prisons are not qualified supervisors. Many of the guards are gang members and bring in paraphernalia from the outside. Some are even hired from the outside to “off” an inmate. Inmates are exposed to abuse and are not protected by staff. Inmates are more likely to be killed in a private prison than a public since they are unsafe with their supervisors. Besides the infringements within the facilities, there is also a conflict of interest with the businesses that own correctional facilities. Owning a prison by a business with intentions to profit and don’t even care about the well being of the convicts is like allowing a corporation owning an orphanage without any intent of finding homes for foster children. It is corrupt.
Firms like GEO Group want overcrowding because they profit from it. They also make lucrative donations to political candidates that are supportive of private prisons. Loopholes allow them to use their power, which is why senators such as Bernie Sanders are campaigning to terminate private prisons. During a press release in February 2017, Senator Sanders stated, “At a time when we already have more people behind bars than any other country, Trump just opened the floodgates for private prisons to make huge profits by building more prisons and keeping even more Americans in jail.
Our job: invest in education and jobs, not jails and incarceration. Further, we must end private prisons in America. Corporations should not be profiting by incarcerating our fellow Americans.” The Obama administration made steps to terminate private prisons and they were close, however, with the new Trump Administration, the powers are inversed. Every intention the Trump party has is to profit and they do not care about American citizens. The next four years will only tell how the faith of private prisons will be.