University of New Hampshire

School of Law

School of Law

Privatizing Prison Systems: Does It Really Cut Costs?

The state of New Hampshire is considering privatizing some of its state prisons. One of the arguments for turning this function over to the private sector is cost savings. The state of Arizona recently privatized some of its prisons and Caroline Isaacs has recently authored a report documenting unanticipated costs associated with privatization.

Please join the Social Justice Institute for an informal discussion with Caroline Isaacs on her findings and recommendations.  

Time: 12:00 to 1:00 pm

Findings of the Isaacs Report:

The data shows that private prisons under contract with the state cost more than equivalent units operated by the state Department of Corrections. American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) estimates that in 2009 and 2010, Arizona overpaid for these units by as much as $7 million. If the state adds 2,000 medium-security private beds, as it has proposed, Arizonans could be losing over $10 million every year on private prisons.

The report reveals all private prisons for which security assessment data was available had serious security flaws. While no prison can be entirely safe or problem-free, private prisons demonstrate clear, long-standing patterns of prisoner unrest including riots, staffing and management issues, escapes, and other serious safety problems.

Caroline Isaacs serves as program director for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) office in Tucson, Arizona.  She has worked with AFSC in various capacities since 1995. She began with a one-year internship, then became a member of the Arizona Area Committee, and was hired as the Criminal Justice Program Coordinator in 2001. She became program director in 2004.

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