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Private prisons suing states for millions if they don’t stay full


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#1 AnBr

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 01:08 PM

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#2 baw1064

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 01:36 PM

Let me just point out that the free market never guaranteed anyone a profit or assured that demand for their good or service wouldn't dry up. This isn't privatization, it's just corporate welfare.
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#3 J-CA

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 08:08 AM

Actually if they have contracts that say they get to stay full, then they get to stay full. It is no different than a contract that states that you will deliver a certain amount of a commodity on a specific schedule. It is just as "free market" as any other contract.
The wisdom of using private capital to build prisons as expensive permanent capacity instead of overflow capacity, that is on the governments that signed these contracts.
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#4 indy

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 08:20 AM

Frankly, I'd be shocked if a private prison didn't require some minimum from the state. The ability to fill them is completely outside of their control and subject to politically driven changes (or, alternatively, economic changes that would require reductions in enforcement rates), but their fixed costs remain fixed.

#5 Progressive whisperer

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 08:37 AM

View Postindy, on 11 May 2015 - 08:20 AM, said:

Frankly, I'd be shocked if a private prison didn't require some minimum from the state. The ability to fill them is completely outside of their control and subject to politically driven changes (or, alternatively, economic changes that would require reductions in enforcement rates), but their fixed costs remain fixed.

Further proof that private, for profit justice system is way up there on the "bad ideas" list. Maybe we can use the empty space for legislative housing...

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#6 indy

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 09:04 AM

You also have to realize the state will lose money if they built prisons that weren't filled as well. All the various economies of scale apply to them too.

Don't get me wrong, I completely agree that privately operated prisons are a bad idea but citing economic grounds may not be the best footing to argue it on. It's believable (to me at least) that on a per prisoner basis, within some parameters, private prisons may cost less. It's still a bad idea though.

#7 J-CA

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 09:05 AM

It is not as if there can't be benefits to private prisons, I am seriously skeptical that is can be done since governments can generally borrow for capital projects at lower rates than industry but I do not object in principle to private capital taking risks on infrastructure used by government.
If a private company wants to build a $X billion facility and be guaranteed occupants at a specific level for Y years and the government looks at the numbers and sees that they will clearly need that capacity for at least that long and can't build and run that building for that amount then such a thing might make sense. The private investors are taking the risk that at the end of the term population goes down and they end up owning a building that is of little use for any other purpose and government is taking the risk that if they project further out perhaps they could have saved money by building it themselves. These are reasonable tradeoffs in the abstract but in practice businesses don't just let billion+ dollar assets die, they fight by any means necessary to save them. Also, in my opinion in most cases governments are always best served by playing the long game anyway, if you build a new prison there is probably an old one that is falling down that could be decommissioned if demand drops.
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#8 Progressive whisperer

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 09:25 AM

Both government and business seem to do poorly at such risk anylasis for some reason. Add In preasure from business groups and you get contracts that agree to too high a residency rate for too long and no penalties if the prison fails to perform (maintain conditions for the prisoners as an example).
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#9 LFC

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 10:36 AM

View Postindy, on 11 May 2015 - 09:04 AM, said:

You also have to realize the state will lose money if they built prisons that weren't filled as well. All the various economies of scale apply to them too.

Not always. The state can lay off people and mothball a facility that they own. That's compared to paying millions a year to keep a private facility open. The states have given away a serious amount of control during a time where we know two things; the crime rate has been steadily falling for decades and there is a national push to legalize or at least decriminalize marijuana.

I agree with others that privatization can work in some cases, but the states really don't seem to have a clue about risk assessment. Plus the expected response to the perverse incentives of prison privatization are obviously coming to fruition:

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2) Private prison companies have also backed measures such as “three-strike” laws to maintain high prison occupancy.

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#10 indy

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 11:42 AM

View PostLFC, on 11 May 2015 - 10:36 AM, said:

Not always. The state can lay off people and mothball a facility that they own. That's compared to paying millions a year to keep a private facility open. The states have given away a serious amount of control during a time where we know two things; the crime rate has been steadily falling for decades and there is a national push to legalize or at least decriminalize marijuana.

Most definitely, it depends. That's why I qualified my statement to say 'within some parameters, private prisons may cost less'.

#11 Joanna

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Posted 12 May 2015 - 08:04 AM

now I now why they are giving 15 years in prison for sex on the beach (that's in the series "only in Florida...)

Some of those private prisons are managed very poorly. I know in my area the counties were actually taking over the local facilities back from private companies, because of the very poor management.

#12 Rich T Bikkies

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Posted 13 May 2015 - 02:39 PM

I simply don't believe what I'm reading here. And there are Conservative politicians in the UK who want to bring this stuff over here! We have private prisons here (thank you for nothing, Mrs Thatcher) but not yet this sort of abomination.

Well, not yet. But we've now got the first Conservative government with an absolute majority since . . .

Nuff said.
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#13 AnBr

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Posted 13 May 2015 - 02:55 PM

John Cleese said "I would love to strangle Rupert Murdoch, with my bare hands" for inflicting Thatcher on Great Britain. He is driving both nations to 3rd world status.
“Trump’s a stupid man’s idea of a smart person, a poor man’s idea of a rich person & a weak man’s idea of a strong man.”

— Fran Lebowitz


“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

— Carl Sagan


Pray for Trump: Psalm 109:8

"Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time - when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers arc in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.

— Carl Sagan
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
1995


“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

— H.L. Mencken
On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe


“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

— Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Second inaugural address January, 1937

#14 Ari

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Posted 13 May 2015 - 03:14 PM

View PostRich T Bikkies, on 13 May 2015 - 02:39 PM, said:

I simply don't believe what I'm reading here. And there are Conservative politicians in the UK who want to bring this stuff over here! We have private prisons here (thank you for nothing, Mrs Thatcher) but not yet this sort of abomination.

From what I can tell online, the private prisons in the UK receive a flat amount per year, subject to adjustments for quality, etc. A flat fee per year is really the same as an assumed 100% minimum occupancy rate.

#15 Rich T Bikkies

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Posted 13 May 2015 - 03:24 PM

View PostAri, on 13 May 2015 - 03:14 PM, said:

From what I can tell online, the private prisons in the UK receive a flat amount per year, subject to adjustments for quality, etc. A flat fee per year is really the same as an assumed 100% minimum occupancy rate.

You may well know more than I do. It could be that nobody in the UK is aware that there is even an issue here. Private prisons are a relatively new idea.
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#16 LFC

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 02:44 PM

More "success" using private companies to run prisons. Being in Arkansas makes it all the more predictable since apparently being "tough on crime" means allowing inmates to die of treatable ailments. And now they're facing 140 lawsuits. The owners should be facing murder charges.

Quote

When Winfred Lawrence developed a cough while serving his prison sentence in Arkansas, he asked to see a doctor. Three months later, he was dead.

A treatable case of pneumonia turned deadly after medical staff at the Varner state prison refused to treat Lawrence, according to a lawsuit filed last week against the Arkansas Department of Corrections and the prison’s medical provider, Correct Care Solutions which provides mental and physical health care to more than 100 state and federal prisons and 333 jails. The lawsuit came the same week as reports that a county in Georgia ended their contract with Correct Care Solutions following the deaths of five inmates in 75 days.

More than 140 lawsuits have been filed against Correct Care Solutions since 2005, federal court records show.

Both Correct Care Solutions and the Arkansas Department of Corrections declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Lawrence developed the cough and breathing problems in September 2014 and asked both guards and medical staff if he could talk to a doctor, but his initial request went unanswered, according to the lawsuit filed by his sister.

The Arkansas Department of Corrections told The Daily Beast that prison protocol for sick patients states that when there is a request describing clear diagnosable symptoms, a “face-to-face encounter between the inmate and a health care services professional is required.”

Instead, Lawrence was allegedly left to fend for himself.

“His only treatment, from what we can see, is Halls cough drops that he purchased himself from the prison commissary,” Lawrence family lawyer Kim Cole told The Daily Beast.

The cough and shortness of breath turned into nausea. Eventually his vomiting became so severe that he could no longer keep down food and water, the lawsuit claims. Medical records later showed that he became septic as his body began to shut down from the infection, Cole said. Staff “continued to ignore his desperate pleas for medical care,” according to the lawsuit.

Two months after Lawrence first asked to see a doctor, he passed out in his cell. He was rushed to a hospital nearby and placed in the intensive care unit, Cole said. The pneumonia, usually treatable with antibiotics, had destroyed his lungs, and he died the next day, the lawsuit claims. Cole said that Lawrence’s sister and his mother did not even know that he was admitted to the hospital until after his death and that they have been forced to rely on medical records to piece together his final hours.

One page stands out. Lawrence’s advance directive signed by prisoners to give instruction to medical staff in case of emergency said, “SAVE MY LIFE,” according to Cole.

“It is bone chilling,” Cole said. “I didn’t even tell his family about that.”

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#17 Rue Bella

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 03:05 PM

That's one way to keep medical care costs down - don't give any.

Or...his death was god's will. If god had wanted him to live, he would have saved him.
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#18 LFC

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Posted 02 December 2019 - 03:53 PM

The track record of private prisons on cost, handling of prisoners, etc. has caught up with them in a number of states and they are now being regulated out of some markets. Needless to say they're fighting back to keep their hands on those government dollars.

Quote

Increasingly, these criticisms of private, for-profit facilities have been reflected in policy and spending. Fueled in part by opposition from their constituents, lawmakers of states like California and Nevada have banned private prisons from operating. Businesses are also increasingly cutting ties with the industry following pushback from their customers.

The number of inmates in these facilities are also seeing a downward trend: In comparison to its peak in 2012 of about 136,220 people, the private prison population has decreased about 12 percent in the past five years as more facilities are closing. Given private prisons rely on facilities being full to remain economically viable, there is concern among executives that these falling numbers could eventually drive these businesses to their demise.

Some in the industry have begun to accept that private prisons may not exist in the decades to come. CoreCivic, the nation’s largest and oldest private prison firm, said it has begun to plan for a federal private prison ban if a Democratic candidate wins the 2020 presidential election (current frontrunners like former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren support its abolishment), according to Nashville Post. Rather than house inmates for the government, the company would simply lease real estate, CEO Damon Hininger said on a conference call last month.

In an attempt to avoid having to rely on these contingency plans, the for-profit prison industry has established an advocacy group called Day 1 Alliance (D1A). The group launched on October 25 and is backed by the largest companies in the industry: CoreCivic will provide initial funding while GEO Group and Management & Training Corporation — the second and third largest companies in the marketplace — will take on leadership roles, according to the Associated Press.

As a public information group, D1A will focus on changing public opinion that has soured on the industry. The group doesn’t plan on lobbying or advocating for issues, the group’s spokeswoman Alexandra Wilkes told Vox; instead it will focus on spreading its message by engaging with the media.

“We launched D1A because of the huge gap that has opened up between the false, distorted rhetoric that activists and some politicians use against this industry and the facts on the ground,” Wilkes said.

But activists argue that the advocacy group does not have the best interests of incarcerated people in mind, and are concerned it will try to downplay the poor living conditions in some facilities while reversing the victories activists have won in states like California and Nevada.

“Don’t be fooled: This is an effort to defend a multi-billion dollar industry that regularly gouges American taxpayers and take attention away from the conditions in these jails,” said Families Belong Together Chairwoman Jess Morales Rocketto, who also wrote in a statement: “The private prison industry has a long and documented history of abusing people in their care.”

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer





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