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It may come as a surprise to many people that the prison industry has become a for profit venture. Keep in mind that when a corporation is running a business for profit they try to minimize the overhead cost. One way of minimizing costs is through the meals inmates are provided. In a recent article published by the ACLU on the privatization of prisons, many inmates complained of losing weight due to the change in meal quantity and quality. Other inmates in privatized prisons have spoke out about various abuse conducted by the staff (this included complaints of sexual abuse and serious beatings that took place in a juvenile facility).
I find it hard to believe that a serious conflict of interest does not exist when prisons are privately run for a profit. Cutting overhead also means less programs that benefit offenders and less staff who are more cost effective to employ (this jeopardizes the safety of the offenders). I don't know what the recidivism rate is for privately run institutions compared to institutions run by the government, but I would be surprised if privately run prisons were as successful at rehabilitating offenders when their primary purpose is generating revenue.
Read more about this topic and view the ACLU article on privately run prisons here.
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