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April 15, 2011

ACLU of Ohio releases new report assailing Governor's plan to sell state prisons

As detailed in this local article, which is headlined "ACLU warns against plan to sell state prisons; Report calls projected savings a sham," the Ohio ACLU has a new report concerning Ohio Governor John Kasich state plan to sell some state prisons in order to cut corrections costs.  Here is how the article start:

Turning more Ohio prisons over to private operators won't save much money, will undermine sentencing reform and will pose a security risk, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio said yesterday.  Prisons for Profit, an ACLU report looking at prison privatization, concluded that Gov. John Kasich "is not doing the taxpayers of Ohio any favors" by planning to sell five state prisons.

"Doing so will not only worsen the strain on Ohio's budget, it will also work strongly against the rehabilitation of low-level offenders and jeopardize the safety of ordinary Ohioans," the group concluded.

About 9 percent of nearly 1.6 million incarcerated people in the United States are in private prisons.

The Kasich administration has solicited bids to sell the state-owned, privately operated Lake Erie Correctional Institution in Conneaut and North Coast Correctional Treatment Facility in Grafton; the state-owned and operated North Central Correctional Institution in Marion and Grafton Correctional Institution in Grafton; and a closed youth prison in Marion. Estimates of the sale proceeds range from $50million to $200 million. Administration officials say the deal offers the state short-term gain from the sales revenue and long-term benefit by reduced operating costs.

However, the ACLU said national studies show cost savings from private prisons are minimal.  They do make money for operators such as Corrections Corporation of America, the largest such firm in the United States with $1.7 billion in income last year.

The ACLU's full report is available at this link, and an ACLU press release about the report is available here and gets started this way:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio released a new report today titled “Prisons for Profit: A look at private prisons” that explores the negative impacts prison privatization has brought to other states.  The report is a compilation of scholarly studies, government reports, and stories from communities that have experienced the negative impact of prisons for profit.  Ohio lawmakers are considering a proposal in the state’s biennial budget to sell five prisons and allow private companies to run their operations.

“Privatizing prisons is seen as a quick remedy for states looking to alleviate budget concerns, but they are often more costly to the state.  While our prison system is undeniably bloated, we must find long-term solutions to stop the flow of people into the system, not gamble on a system that could bring more problems than it solves,” said ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link.

April 15, 2011 at 07:56 AM | Permalink


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I urge the ACLU to get some funding, put in high bids, and show the world how to run a prison.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 15, 2011 8:47:47 AM

Privatizing prisons is a bad idea. Just the idea of moving prisoners even farther from the one aspect that might influence their rehab the most - their families - is enough. But getting PR for this is a huge uphill battle.

Posted by: chris | Jan 13, 2012 4:12:54 PM

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