Conflict Between Private and Public Prisons According to Marc Mauer`s Philosophy

ConflictBetween Private and Public Prisons According to Marc Mauer’sPhilosophy

ConflictBetween Private and Public Prisons According to Marc Mauer’sPhilosophy

Currently, the US has the highest imprisonment rate in the worldwith a large number of people imprisoned in drug-related cases. Mauer(2004) suggests that the US has a collective jail and prisonpopulation of roughly 2.1 million people. Mauer (2004) sees the highincarceration rate as a result of a tough-on-crime social approach,attempt by the government to enforce a sense of authority over anobdurate social disorder, and an increasing conservative climate.Consequently, in a bid to cut costs, state legislatures and otherstate bodies have advanced private prisons. However, the costvariance between operating a public and a private prison is small andinconsequential. Thus, private prisons raise a moral issue: theimplications of basing the operation of a prison on profitmotivation. Supporters of private prisons contend that privatizationcan lead to less recidivism, increased quality and effectiveness, andhelp the government save money. However, there lacks a comparative orempirical data to support these ideas. It is imperative to note thata large number of the incarcerated are from poor neighborhoods orimprisoned for petty crimes. In this regards, Mauer (2004) positsthat the impact of mass imprisonment on crime is considerably lessthan suggested and imprisonment is not more effective than othersocial interventions. This shows that the suggested benefits ofprivatization also lack credibility hence, the need to posit thatprivate prisons are not necessarily better than public prisons.

Private prisonsgenerate possible conflicts concerning the period wrongdoers shouldremain imprisoned since the longer a recidivist remains in custody,the more the financial gain for the private firms. Furthermore,privatization means that private employees make decisions on whethera prisoner should go to a disciplinary hearing or solitaryconfinement, which means that the administration of justice is placedin private hands. The administration of justice should be solely leftin the hands of the government since private prisons create aconflict regarding the welfare of prisoners. Private prisons createan inducement for legislators to encourage prison extension sincewith private firms constructing the facilities, legislators do nothave to go to the voters for approval. Furthermore, with massimprisonment many rural districts clamor for prisons whether privateor public since their construction means jobs and increased welfarefor the locals. Mauer (2004) suggests that policymakers can legislateunproductive and imprudent sentencing policies easily, but undoingthese policies take years. It is also important to note that thegovernment pays private prisons a certain amount for each inmatethus, private firms benefit by keeping the beds filled. Increasedviolence among private prisons has intensified the conflict betweenpublic and private prisons since most private employees are poorlytrained on how to handle prisoners.

As Mauer (2004)points out, mass imprisonment has had a significantly lessimplication on crimes, but the government continues to advanceincarceration as the most effective crime deterrent approach. To dealwith the effects of mass imprisonment in prisons, the governmentbodies have advanced the creation of private prisons to deal with theincreased incarceration rate. However, private prisons have generatedconflict regarding the time an inmate should remain confined.Furthermore, private prisons clamor for more prisoners since theircreation is based on profit motivation instead of providing justiceor changing the behavior of the prisoners. This means that whilepublic prisons desire to change the behavior of inmates and offerjustice to victims, private prisons clamor for increased profits.


Mauer, M. (2004). Thinking about prison and its impact in thetwenty-first century.&nbspOhio State Journal of Criminal Law.,&nbsp2,607.