The Justice Department plans to end its use of private prisons after officials concluded the facilities are both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government.
“They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security”
I don’t want to be a wet blanket, but that ought to have been obvious all along. The problem with outsourcing anything is that – unless there ways to automate overlapping efforts – the only way for the outsourcer to make a profit is to cut corners. The bigger the corner cut, the bigger the profit. What a great incentive structure!
That’s the problem with government services: you have to accept that certain things are going to be loss-leaders (roads, infrastructure, prisons, defense, etc) not profit-centers. If you further accept that certain things will always be costs, then you can’t fairly say you’ll make the problems local, because then you’re simply pushing inequality down to each jurisdiction.
The cynic in me is worried that this move is actually because the venture capitalists backing the for-profit prisons aren’t seeing the return on investment that they were expecting, so they’re cashing back out to try something else. And that would allow the libertarians to be smug: the invisible hand of the market has corrected for-profit prisons! Yay! Actually, either way the invisible hand moves, the libertarians get to be smug. Funny how that works.