Privatizing Prison Administration Term Paper

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Privatizing Prison Administration

Description of the Financing System.

Description of How the Current System Works. The financial costs associated with maintaining America's prison system are staggering. Just to stay even with an inmate population that grows by 50,000 to 80,000 a year, approximately, 1,000 new jails and prisons have been built since 1980, and about one new 1,000 bed facility must be added every week for the next ten years (Mccormick 2000). The cost of imprisoning adult offenders ranges from $25,000 to $70,000 a year, and the total costs associated with constructing each new prison cell has soared to $100,000; as a result, the annual budget for constructing and maintaining prisons has jumped in the last two decades from $7 billion to almost $40 billion dollars (Schlosser 1999).

According to Stephen Donziger (1997), "prisons are the largest public works program in America, providing housing, food, (and only sometimes) education, mental health services, and drug treatment" (24). Since 1980, the costs associated with crime control have increased at twice the rate of defense spending, and spending on corrections on the state level has increased faster than any other spending category (Mccormick 2000). Despite these enormous investments, prisons in America remain highly overcrowded and dangerous places; in 1995, 40 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia remained under court orders to address overcrowding in their systems (Mccormick 2000).

Primary Fiscal Instruments Used for Raising Revenues. Over the past 20 years, no other area of state government expenditures has increased as rapidly as prisons and jails (Irwin, Schiraldi & Ziedenberg 2000). All of the states and the federal government operate prison systems, each of which is funded in a different manner, including a broad mix of revenue bonds, sales taxes, various grants and others; however, the inherent costs associated with such operation have experienced enormous increases in recent years (Mccormick 2000). According to Irwin et al.:

State inmates cost an average of $19,801.25 to incarcerate per year; therefore, in 1998, it cost $12.7 billion to incarcerate 639,280 nonviolent state prisoners;

Federal prisoners cost an average of $23,476.80 per year to imprison; the total costs for locking up 106,090…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Campbell, Allison, Andrew Coyle and Rodney Neufeld (Eds.). Capitalist Punishment: Prison

Privatization & Human Rights. Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2003.

Mccormick, Patrick T. (2000). Just Punishment and America's Prison Experiment. Theological Studies, 61(3):508.

Schlosser, Kathryn Casa. (July 2, 1999). Prisons: The New Growth Industry. National Catholic Reporter, 16.

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