Wednesday, December 29, 2010

'Prison Pays'

The Houston Press has published an extensive feature by Craig Malisow on the Geo Group in Texas titled "Prison Pays," in which yours truly is briefly quoted. The story is subtitled, "Despite a history of abuse and bad conditions, private prison corporation GEO keeps getting contracts from the state."

See prior, related Grits posts:


Anonymous said...

Its true. Look at how many TYC people/ administrators made big bucks on the backs of youth. The state gave millions and so much was misused and placed in the private pockets of administrators. Same with the adult system. These folks now laugh at the system and place their favorites in positions they once occupied. Everyone knows, yet no one cares enough to change the system.

Prison Doc said...

Other than the left-of-center dislike of private profit, I honestly can't see why there is any antipathy toward private corrections. As a corrections professional, I've worked in county, state and federal facilities, both publicly and priately run--including Geo--and in Texas there is certainly no difference in the quality of care delivered, either medical or security. Yes, there are murders,
assaults, suicides, inmate-on-inmate abuse and molestation--and it is in ALL TYPES OF FACILITIES.

The "extensive" Prison Pays article so lovingly cited by Grits is a joke--merely a collection of anecdotal horror stories from private facilities, with no evidence whatsoever that these incidents are the exclusive province of private facilities as opposed to state-run facilities.

The left wing sentiment of "no profit from human misery" is not helpful. And OMG!! They even made political contributions--who knew! What IS helpful are the recent and ongoing discussions on this site about sentencing, parole, prison closures, substance abuse treatment, prisoner re-entry. If imprisonment merely metes out human misery, it is just as immoral when done by the state as by a state-hired private contractor.

Life in prison is horrible. Terrible things happen. Public and private, its the same. There are dedicated professionals and thugs who work in both. I've worked in prisons a dozen years--2/3 of that in private facilities. And that murder, suicide, rape that I saw--all in non-private facilities.
Lets work on making the system better, and as one who's been on both sides I don't see anything to gain by badmouthing the private sector. Much more important issues are at stake.

Please don't ban me from the site for these comments.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Prison Doc, given the garbage I tolerate in Grits comments most days, I don't think you're in danger of being banned.

That said, there's nothing "private sector" about private prisons. They only have one customer: The government. Don't confuse corporate welfare with capitalism.

Thomas Hobbes said...

And now they're buying BI Incorporated . . .

BI Press Release

Texas Maverick said...

Prison Doc: "anecdotal horror stories" In reading the article, there seem to be amply backup for the statements made. I have read analysis of GEO operations in Australia and other parts of the world that relate some of these same types of stories. Yes, the same things happen in state facilities, but the problem is the cloak of secrecy with the private companies and the lack of responsibility when things do go wrong. You don't say why you no longer work. Companies who contract to govt should be held to high standards and the changes made in contract negotiations are a step in the right direction. We need to be sure the terms of the contracts are being enforced. Fines and/or cancellations should be the result, so that the state doesn't incur costly lawsuits and inmates have humane living conditions. Private prisons do not have a good track record so they should be closely monitored.

Anonymous said...

Any private agency receiving public funding should NOT be immune from the Open Records Act! There should be transparency in government spending!

Anonymous said...

There is a problem when we create laws to justify building private prisons. For example, the private prison industry through ALEC drafted Arizona's contraversial immigration law so that they could build the detention centers. I suspect that they even gave the governor and others "talking points" because, as we saw on the news that these political figures were at a loss for words when asked to back up what they claimed (such as the claims of be-headings).