PETITIONS, POLITICS — BY JOSH SAGER ON MAY 27, 2012 6:11 AM
Sign the Petition: http://forcechange.com/21900/stop-new-hampshire-from-privatizing-their-prison-system/
Target: The New Hampshire Department of Corrections
Goal: Do not continue the plan to fully privatize the New Hampshire prison system for adult males.
The New Hampshire Department of Corrections is currently in the middle of a process aimed at fully privatizing the prison system for adult male inmates in their state. The Proposal by the NH Department of Corrections, offered at the end of 2011, proposed several different options for the prisons contract and asked for private prison corporations to submit plans and bids to the state. If a plan and price is agreed upon, and this privatization plan finalized, New Hampshire would become the state with the largest percentage of its prisons being privatized.
Private prison corporations claim that their prisons are cheaper for the state, more efficient, and just as safe as publicly run prisons; unfortunately, these claims have not been upheld up by the facts. As shown by a study, performed by the Arizona Department of Corrections (in relation to their private prisons), private prisons cost slightly more money to the taxpayer to operate and supply an inferior product.
In order to reduce their costs and increase profits, private prisons utilize several tactics which harm the public: They cherry-pick prisoners who are less expensive to imprison and don’t operate rehabilitation programs within their facilities. As healthy inmates save money on medical costs and non-violent inmates save money on the costs of guards, most private prisons intentionally stack their populations with these types of prisoners; the sick and violent prisoners remain in the public prisons system, for the public to pay for directly. Once in a private prison, most inmates will not receive sufficient rehabilitation programs, because such programs cut into the bottom line of the corporation; rehabilitation helps prevent future crime, and the private prisons’ rejection of it for a personal gain raises the risk of future damage to society (recidivism).
In addition to supply an inferior product and costing more, private prisons lobby to increase criminal penalties. By lobbying politicians to criminalize more actions, increase sentence lengths, and apply minimum sentencing laws, private prisons attempt to increase the number of people in their institutions.
This petition is directed at the New Hampshire Department of Corrections and is intended to convince them of the terrible mistake which they are verging on making. Private prisons are ineffective and lead to a perversion of the ideals of the justice system; the goals of the justice system should be justice itself, not turning a profit. Please sign this petition in order to join in this protest and protect the integrity of the justice system in New Hampshire.
Dear New Hampshire Department of Corrections,
Your agency is currently considering the mass-privatization of the prison infrastructure in your state. Unfortunately, this course of action has proven to be expensive, ineffective, and with some serious negative externalities.
States which have privatized portions of their prison infrastructures (for example, Arizona) have not experienced decreases in costs. In addition to the lack of a decrease in cost to the taxpayer due to privatizing, private prisons have sub-standard rehabilitation programs and provide a lower quality of life to their prisoners compared to state prisons; you are literally paying more for less when you privatize your prisons (under the current privatization model).
Once installed in a state, private prisons lobby state legislatures to increase criminal penalties, in an attempt to increase the prison population. The more people who go to jail, and for longer, the more of a profit these corporations make (particularly if these criminals are non-violent offenders). The mal-incentive created by attaching a profit motive to imprisoning American citizens will inevitably lead to tragic results.
I would not expect you to take my word on these claims against your plan to privatize without evidence: Please review this study, created by the Justice Policy Institute, or other non-private prison industry studies assessing the consequences of prison privatization to confirm the validity of these claims.
I, as well as everybody else who signed this letter, implore you to reject the idea of prison privatization in the state of New Hampshire. Please look at the available evidence and choose the safer, less expensive and more effective option — keeping prisons run by the states, as institutes of public service — rather than transforming them into a for-profit industry.
[Your Name Here]