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Union-Propagated Red Herrings Continue to Mar Corrections Research

My latest reason.org commentary entitled Union-Propogated Red Herrings Continue to Mar Corrections Research begins:

Yesterday Mike Hall posted on AFL-CIO Now’s In the States blog about a recent report entitled, Prison Bed Profiteers: How Corporations Are Reshaping Criminal Justice in the U.S. from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD). Unfortunately NCCD falls for red herrings propagated by public employee unions like the AFL-CIO, while ignoring pressing issues facing the U.S. criminal justice system. Specifically, they blame the private sector for problems that are more strongly correlated with the criminal justice system as a whole.

After explaining that anti-privatization critics present some sound criticisms of the U.S. criminal justice system as a whole, but miss the mark by focusing on private sector partners, the piece continues:

Meaningful reform requires an all-of-the-above strategy, not a distracting debate over public vs. private sector prison operation. This can best be addressed by considering the three elements of the U.S. criminal justice system: criminal sentencing, facility environments and recidivism.

The piece goes on to explore how reform strategies for each of these elements of the system and highlights related Reason Foundation research. The piece concludes:

Ultimately, the private sector has proven to be a capable partner for the public sector and there’s no reason to ignore that success. As is always the case with privatization, rigorous contracting is necessary to achieve optimal outcomes. Blaming the private sector solves nothing. Instead, an all-of-the-above strategy is necessary to address the major challenges facing the U.S. criminal justice system.

For more, see the full piece available online here, and visit Reason Foundation's Prisons and Corrections Research Archive.

Harris Kenny is Policy Analyst


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