Privatization: the case study of prisons

Governments have embraced privatization of all types with open arms. In fact, the use of private firms to participate, in whole or in part, in the provision of a public service has become so widespread that very few government services are not privatized in some form in the United States. The purpose of this graduate project is to explore the efficiency of privatization, including advantages versus disadvantages and strengths versus weaknesses. More specifically, I review privatization as an interesting public policy issue, and examine prison privatization as a case study. I further analyze and outline arguments for and against utilizing private firms for prison operations. In addition, I identify the driving forces of privatization, consider the critical issues related to prison privatization, and describe the situation and trend of private prisons. In conclusion, this project identifies whether the profit motives of the free market will always drive toward more efficient outcomes. Finally, by analyzing a relevant case study, it is hoped that a determination can be made on how to make privatization more effective.