You have owned a private security firm for 15 years.  You are now interested in branching out and creating a private prison.  Create a pro and con list for taking this step.  Then discuss what obstacles you potentially will face and what benefits you would glean from this endeavor.

Overall from a business point of view this would be a good endeavor to embark on. Over the last ten years the official crime rate has reduced, but the imprisonment percentage has continued to increase. We are placing inmates in cells at an alarming rate, 60% of those incarcerated are there for nonviolent crimes such as drugs offenses (Schmalleger, 2019). With any business decision the pros and cons must be weighed to ensure success and sustainment at the end of the day. 

Some of the positive aspects that support for profit prisons are they have an annual growth rate of 35% in the private prison industry (Films Media Group,1999). Privatized prisons overall have lower operating cost then federally governed prisons and can be better tailored for specific performances/functions. Privatized prisons are many times used to curb overcrowding in the larger prisons, but have come with many challenges.

Constructs to the privatization of a prison is they are a business company, prison facilities like many other organizations face the possibility of a strike from its employees. Some reports have shown that for profit prisons arent as lucrative as they seem. One of the most notable cons for the privatization of prisons is this system encourages extended confinements, because its most valuable commodity is a prisoner behind bars. Health care cuts and lack of transparency have habitually been linked to for-profit prisons, which creates a contentious environment from society and nay-sayers. 

Some obstacles that we must acknowledge are privatized prisons require a significantly lower guard ratio to prisoners, this has been highlighted by the high inmate attacks on guards. For profit prisons arent federally governed and can bring a considerable amount of scrutiny as lowering recidivism rates would be counter intuitive to their business model. Many Americans do not support the privatization of prisons and protests/actions outside of the walls can become a huge obstacle. Lastly the most glaring benefits from for-profit prisons are profits and job security. For-profit prisons will continue to thrive as we continue to combat prison overcrowding. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Justice Department (DoJ) have both announced their intent to continue using privately managed facilities and this is a solid business venture (Gonzalez, 2018). Yes, money will be made, but in my opinion, I would stay far away from the contentious business plan.

Gonzalez, M. (2018). Information Asymmetry in Private Prison Management: Monitoring and Oversight as the Basis for Private Prison Legitimacy. Public Contract Law Journal, 47(3), 377398.

Films Media Group. (1999). The war on drugs: Winners and losers. Films On Demand. https://digital.films.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=103647&xtid=11181 (Links to an external site.).

Schmalleger, F. (2019). Criminal justice: a brief introduction, (13th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.



There is an argument for privatizing prisons in regards to where the money for the prison comes from. State and federal prisons are funded by US tax dollars. Additionally, privatizing prisons escapes governmental standards. Privatized prisons offer the option for third party financing. However, Reduction of per inmate correctional costs is in practice one of the strongest arguments for prison privatization, although the cost-efficiency virtue of private prisons is debatable.(Jing, 2010) That being said, though I understand the cost of prisons, I do not believe privatizing prisons is the best idea.

The prison and rehabilitation system is a very fickle business. One standardized set of people should govern the criminals that have gone through the criminal justice system. Private prisons have a higher margin of error in the facilities construction, the supply system, and even in manpower. As discussed in the textbook, the inmates rights still lie with the state (Schmalleger, 2015). Privatized guards could pose a conflict of interest when the state is responsible for the rights of the prisoners. Additionally, there is a higher margin of corruption among privatized guards as opposed to direct-hire federal/state guards.


Jing, Y. (2010). Prison Privatization : A Study of the Causes and Magnitude. New York, N.Y.: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Schmalleger, F. (2015). Criminal Justice: A Brief Introduction 11th Ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. Pearson/Prentice Hall