Friday, June 24, 2011

There Are Some Things the Government Should Run

Prisons are something that shouldn't be privatized.
Earlier this year, a Pennsylvania judge was convicted of racketeering, of taking bribes from parties of interest in his cases. It was a fairly routine case of bribery, with one significant exception. The party making the payoffs was a builder and operator of youth prisons, and the judge was rewarding him by sending lots of kids to his prisons.
From Who Wants to Keep the War on Drugs AND Put You in Debtor's Prison by Matt Stoller.

Stoller quotes this interesting passage from a recent 10K filing from The Corrections Corporation of America:
The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws. For instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.
It is hard enough to have a rational debate about drug policy or immigration policy without lobbyists representing corporations whose vested interest in seeing people thrown in prisons has nothing whatsoever to do with the danger that those people pose to society.


  1. Vinny,

    Right on the money.

    I am astounded that people here in Ohio think selling off five prisons (and the turnpike) is a good idea. All the politicians see is the up-front cash the state will receive from the sale. It seems the only concern is now.

    I am not against some of Governor Kasich's sell-off plans. Selling off the state liquor stores is a good idea. The State of Ohio doesn't need to be in the liquor business. Tax it and let a private company sell it.

  2. Vinny,

    I want to apologize for misreading the situation on DagoodS’s blog. I think I assumed that since you and DagoodS agree on a lot, your comment on his most recent post was implicit agreement with what he said on TQA. This was unfair and unreasonable.

    Also, I don’t think you’re “adversarial”—I think you just love to debate Christians. But, as I said before, you’ve never said anything to me that I have perceived as an attempt to hurt or belittle. And, upon further reflection, I don’t think DagoodS said what he did for the purpose of hurting me either.

    I do, however, feel very strongly that unless he’s ninety years old, he really should stop using expressions like “that old chestnut” and “poppycock.” And I’m not budging from that position. :)

  3. Bruce,

    I agree that liquor stores should be run by the private sector although you still have to watch out for them being given away at a bargain price to some political insider.