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Cost-savings for state prisons

Jon Coupal and Leonard Gilroy, writing for the Reason Foundation, composed an article earlier this year that looked at the severe budget deficits in the state of California vis-a-vis the possibility of privatized prisons.  As the article references, prisons apparently use up a disproportionate amount of the state's spending on personnel: nearly 40%.  The authors proceed to point out that the second-largest inmate population in the US, in Texas, is on average 15% cheaper to pay for than California, and connects this difference in effectiveness to the extensive use of public-private partnerships in prison operations in TX.  As they claim,

"Not only are costs lower in private prisons, but the competition they provide helps drive down costs in state-run prisons as well. A study of New Mexico – which contracts out 45 percent of its correctional system – found the state spent $10,000 less per prisoner per year than peer states that had no privately operated correctional facilities. A March 2009 Avondale Partners survey of 30 state correctional agencies, many of which use privately operated correctional facilities, found that contracted prisons cost 28 percent less than state-run facilities."

This is a strong claim, but one certainly worth examining given the recent budgetary shortfalls across the nation. 

Read the full article here.

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