By: Linda Gross
(Update: Thursday) This blog post was recently updated to reflect the correct source of the “Report on Prison Privatization” as being the Prison Corrections Institute”, and providing the actual PDF for readers to access.)
This week’s debate in the AZ Silverbelt, centers on public and employee safety.
Zache, speaking on behalf of the EDC who is backing the effort to bring a private prison to Globe, quotes Geoffrey Segal of the Reason Foundation, as identifying 17 studies that conclude “quality at private facilities is as good or better than at government-run facilities. Segal goes on to to tout the benefits of these private prisons ending with the statement that “there is clear and significant evidence that private prisons actually improve quality.”
Wow! Sounds good. You can hardly question an organization with a name like the Reason Foundation, can you? Kinda like “Fly Safe Airways.” Just makes you want to book a flight.
Well, turns out the Reason Foundation which was established in 2004, is funded by the Private Prison Industry. We question politicians motives when we discover they are being bought off by special interests. Perhaps, before making a decision based on the claims of The Reason Foundation, and it’s spokesman, George F. Seagal, you might consider the roots of the organization.
In the same May 2010 press release by the Prison Corrections Institute refutes much of the Reason Foundation findings in a piece entitled: Report on Prison Privatization Plagued with Conflicts of Interest,Faulty data, Political Connections, PCI press release re Reason report 2010 (2)-2 . In it they also mention the American Correctional Association, also cited by Zache in this week’s debate as being a legit mechanism for accredidation. The PCI report differs on this point.
According to it’s website the facts listed by Zache, the American Correctional Association determines if a facility meets nationally accepted standards for quality of operation, management and maintenance. Zache says the association has accredited 10% of government-operated facilities and 44 % of private facilities. Good stuff. We should rest assured that ACA is watching over these facilities – atleast 44% of them – and making sure they meet State standards. Right?
Yet, what are we to make of the report on prison privatization above which says, “The report fails to mention that the ACA – a private, self-regulated organization composed of former and current corrections officials – receives revenue from private prison companies, which also sponsor the ACA’s biannual conferences”
And that same ACA was noted in a June 2010 article by the Boston Globe, “The ACA is probably most well known for its controversial accreditation program. “To prison chiefs and jail sheriffs nationwide, it is considered the Good Housekeeping seal of approval for corrections… But a closer look at the accreditation program of the American Correctional Association… shows that it has routinely accredited facilities beset by charges of abuse or poor conditions.”
The Mayor, and Globe City Council, along with other local leaders seem to be taking “the word” of the private prison experts that we have nothing to fear. They say the promises are solid. The “facts”irrefutable” and the value of a private prison obvious. In the words of George Segal who is referencing a study his group did with the Arizona Dept of Corrections , ” reading the study makes one wonder why all prison haven’t been turned over to private industry operators.”
Until you read those “other reports” not funded by Corrections Corp of America and the Private Prison Industry.
Weigh in this week on the AZ SilverBelt Debate:
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