Fear is the only thing which can make a person do anything. The prisons were constructed with the same motive of restricting people from committing heinous crimes. But is this fear diminishing with time? Yes, it is thanks to the introduction of Private prisons. These private prisons are on the rise which is comparatively lenient in their approach. So why are they increasing in number? They are the hot topic these days owing to the setting of the Netflix dramedy ‘Orange Is the New Black’ and the subject of a recent 35,000-word ‘Mother Jones exposé’- in which a reporter goes undercover as a corrections officer at a Louisiana for-profit prison to shed light on the facility’s harsh conditions.
For-profit companies run more than 150 jails, prisons, and detention centres in the U.S., overseeing approximately 8 percent of the total prison population. Private corporations house approximately half of all immigrant detainees, and many private prison contracts include a so-called “lockup quota”. Mass incarceration expert Natasha Frost, associate professor in the College of Social Science and Humanities’ School of Criminology at Northeastern University elucidated how private prisons are changing the criminal justice system. One place that she certainly saw exponential growth was in the use of private prisons and detention facilities within the federal system and some of this growth can be tied to immigration enforcement.
She feels that there is a problem with mass incarceration—problems that people on both sides of the political spectrum now recognize and are trying to alleviate. Mass incarceration is very expensive and regardless of who profits, the taxpayers pay. Across for-profit prisons, there are built-in incentives to send people to prison and to cut costs once they are there. Private prisons have been accused of cutting costs to increase profit margins and this has been most notable in the areas of staffing and healthcare provision. Private prisons pay their employees less, offer fewer hours of training to new employees, and have higher rates of turnover than their publicly-run counterparts.