State Prisons Vs. Private Companies Operated Prisons Research Paper

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State vs. Private Prison

The United States prison system is designed to ensure that the members of society who have chosen to violate the law and commit crimes are suitably punished. Prisoners are sent away for a period of time based on the crime committed and the severity of that crime. Additional factors such as age, mental and emotional state, and motive may have a contribution to the sentencing of the prisoner. The prison system is comprised of both state-funded institutions and those run and controlled by private funding. Both forms of institutions serve the same inherent function, to punish those who have committed crimes and to rehabilitate the offenders so that they can be released back into society without posing a potential threat to other law-abiding citizens. Those who cannot be rehabilitated will either be executed by the state or sent to prison for a life sentence. However, there are differences between private and public penitentiaries, both in the implementation of punishment and in the reformation of criminals which differentiate the two types of prisons.

Privatization has become an important role in many aspects of prison life, both while the convicted individual is within prison and afterwards when they are on probation (Siegel 546). In the current economy, many states have had
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to shut down publicly-owned facilities because the upkeep cannot be afforded. Many times this results in the early probation of criminals before they have served their full sentences, as well as a decrease in the level of care and observation during the probationary period of the former convict. In such instances, private corporations and entities take over existing penitentiary structures or construct new ones to alleviate the overcrowded prison system and ensure the situation does not become worse because of the shutdown (Zito).

Most privatized prisons in the United States operate mostly to deal with crimes involving drugs and alcohol. Rather than put a criminal in a traditional prison, the individual can be placed in a rehabilitation center where they have most of the same restrictions as a regular penitentiary. This is also true of institutions for the criminally insane, individuals who are guilty of crime but have been found to possess diminished mental capacity. Rather than go to prison, these individuals are placed in a secure medical facility where they can be more closely monitored by staff. The thesis is that these individuals are not responsible for criminal activity for any reason other than a dependency of drugs or because of their mental states. Given a more restrictive environment where they will not have access to drugs or alcohol, or…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited:

Levine, D.M. "What's Costlier than a Government Run Prison? A Private One." Fortune. 2010.


"Private Privatization and the Use of Incarceration." The Sentencing Project. 2004. Print.

Siegel, Larry J., and Joseph J. Senna. Introduction to Criminal Justice. Belmont, CA:

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