Essay on The Cost of Prison

2470 Words 10 Pages
Faced with a glaring deficit and terrifying examples of ineffective spending around the globe, lawmakers looking for cost-saving measures would do well to turn to prisons. Prison reform must attain the lowest economic costs, lowering actual taxpayer dollars spent without giving up the benefits of attaining important social goals, which represent another form of cost when lost. Undoubtedly, the current prison system is doing little to separate the US from its international counterparts in minimizing such cost, yet prison privatization has yielded hopeful results, as private correctional facilities seem to have a striking advantage over public ones in reducing both short-term costs in terms of prison operations, and long-terms …show more content…
A study regarding “three identical medium-maximum security prisons in the late 1980s” in Louisiana seems to support this notion, comparing the cost-effectiveness of two private correctional facilities, Allen and Winn, and one publicly run, Avoyelles, from “for the operational fiscal years of 1991-92 through fiscal years 1995-96” (William Archambeault, 1996). Able to control for location and time of construction (the prisons were all built within a year of each other), the quasi-experiment concluded that the privately owned prisons “to be significantly more cost-effective to operate by between 11.69% to 13.8%, based on the average for the past five fiscal years” (Archambeault, 1996). This was the results of the private prisons outperforming in areas of “statistically fewer critical incidents” and workplace safety, as “Avoyelles averaged 15.14 critical incidents per month as compared to 7.48 for Winn and 7.93 for Allen” (Archambeault, 1996). Allen and Winn excelled at “inmate disciplinary actions in maintaining order among inmate populations” and thereby required less “security personnel while achieving higher levels of inmate and staff safety” (Archambeault, 1996). Undoubtedly, such reduction in requisite policing and medical aid significantly contributes to decreased costs, though Avoyelles did perform better in areas of preventing escapes (Archambeault, 1996). Similar results are derived from a Florida

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