A recent article published by the Sentencing Project speaks to how the 1980’s War on Drugs resulted in harsher sentencing policies – including mandatory minimums – that gave way to a burgeoning prison population across the nation. To ease the burden placed on the public sector, for-profit private prisons started operating in many states and at the federal level resulting in what many view as the capitalization of mass incarceration.
Although Wisconsin is among eight states that eliminated the use of private prisons, many other states continue to contract with private prisons as does the federal government. Recent efforts to phase out private prison contracting at the federal level have failed out of concern that public federal correction facilities cannot keep up with future needs, at a time when federal prosecutors are getting tough on crime once more. The projected increases in prison admissions and sentences will undoubtedly result in the expansion of for-profit private facilities – a disturbing trend for anyone charged with a crime.
Aside from the obvious conflict inherent in a for profit prison system being dependent on convictions, the reasons states such as Wisconsin give for discontinuing contracts with private prisons are safety concerns and cost savings – the very perks private prisons claim to offer when negotiating contracts. Private companies are in the business of cutting costs and generating profits, and prisons often trim the budget by “employing mostly unskilled and low skilled workers at lower salaries and limited benefits”. An inexperienced workforce can easily lead to safety and security incidents in a prison setting and an uptick in costs.
Despite what many see as a lack of cost effectiveness, security and safety concerns, poor conditions, and the potential for corruption, for-profit private prisons are likely here to stay. In a climate of what some refer to as the capitalization of mass incarceration, it is very important to seek legal representation if you or a family member is charged with a crime. An experienced Wisconsin criminal defense attorney will pursue a reduction in charges and sentencing or an outright dismissal where rights are violated, aggressively fighting on the accused side. Contact the Waukesha criminal defense lawyers of Andrew C. Ladd LLC for immediate assistance today at 262-542-3900.
Source: The Sentencing Project, “Capitalizing on Mass Incarceration: U.S. Growth in Private Prisons”, Kara Gotsch and Vinay Basti, August 2, 2018