Prison populations in the United States have swelled over the last 20 years. Fiscal constraints at the federal, state, and local levels have left few funds available for the accommodation of new prisoners, and overcrowding is a serious problem at many of the nation’s jails and prisons. In response, correctional authorities have turned to the private sector by contracting for the construction, financing, and operation of private prisons.
Geoffrey Segal is the director of privatization and government reform at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. He is also editor of Reason's Privatization Watch.