Earlier tonight a friend and I were discussing the many ways the prison system is screwed up. Private prisons came up as an idea for a solution, which led to ideas on how to make a prison profitable, without soaking the tax payers wallets. It’s a difficult argument, because there are so many variables involved. Sure, you can bring private business into the prison, and hire the near slave labor inside to do the work for you, but how can local businesses compete with that?
As I sit thinking about it, I can’t help but see it as a dual sided problem. Not only do we need to look at it as an economic issue, but also a behavioral issue. If we integrate working into a much larger rehabilitation program, it may help to both decrease the cost to taxpayers on a per-prisoner basis, and also lower the rate of criminals reverting back to crime. There is evidence that this could be a true scenario.
For once, I’m going to not act like I have all the answers. What is your opinion? Would private prisons work? Would they hurt the economy? Could they be used to rehabilitate prisoners? Or, would it just not be worth even trying? Leave your answer in the comments, and let’s get the discussion going.