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NY Times: Private Prisons Offer Little in Cost Savings

NY Times
NY Times
In a front-page article in today's New York Times ("Private Prisons Found to Offer Little in Savings," May 19th), reporter Richard Oppel lays out a fairly  devastating case against the claims by the private prison industry that it offers states significant cost-savings.  According to the article,

"The conviction that private prisons save money helped drive more than 30 states to turn to them for housing inmates. But Arizona shows that popular wisdom might be wrong: Data there suggest that privately operated prisons can cost more to operate than state-run prisons — even though they often steer clear of the sickest, costliest inmates.  ...

Despite a state law stipulating that private prisons must create “cost savings,” the state’s own data indicate that inmates in private prisons can cost as much as $1,600 more per year, while many cost about the same as they do in state-run prisons.

The research, by the Arizona Department of Corrections, also reveals a murky aspect of private prisons that helps them appear less expensive: They often house only relatively healthy inmates."

This is pretty damning evidence in Arizona.  The article goes on to say that results in other states have also not found much in the way of cost-savings. 

 

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