If you talk to Republicans about the Government, they’ll tell you that the more we privatize, the better because of greater efficiency in the private sector. My answer has been that, aside from the greater efficiency being mythical (which is why Dilbert is about the private sector), the intrinsic problems are that privatization adds an extra layer of expense in the form of profits for stockholders and that the ultimate focus of the organization shifts from ultimate responsibility to the public to ultimate responsibility to stockholders. 

This morning I heard a news report on NPR that reinforced my assessment. It concerns a lawsuit filed against the largest private prisons corporation in the US, CoreCivic, for actions in a prison in Georgia. How can a corporation improve its profits? One way is to reduce labor costs. The problem in this case is how CoreCivic is accused of doing that: 

By forcing immigrant detainees to work for as little as a dollar an hour.

”Forcing” can mean anything from restricting access to necessities for those who refuse to placing those who refuse in solitary confinement. 

Forced labor is illegal. Also, if you pay someone a dollar an hour you’re eliminating a job, because someone has to do that job and ordinarily whoever does is paid at least minimum wage. 

Looked at in strictly economic terms (and ignoring both basic decency and the law), a Republican looking at this would argue that reducing that wage saves the public money, which might be a weak argument for privatization if we thought any of that savings would be passed on to the public, so instead it’s really no argument at all. 

By the way, this sort of practice is limited neither to this prison nor to this prison company. This is not an isolated problem. 

As a general rule, you get what you incentivize. Maybe I should say you get what you reward. If incentives are geared primarily around making stockholders richer - and this is not only a financial incentive, it’s a legal incentive because of Fiduciary Responsibility - we’re going to see results like these. It doesn’t matter what any given party says they want, what matters is where they put the vested interest. 

If the primary vested interest is not in public service, the primary result won’t be either. And, in privatization, the primary vested interest can’t be. 

By law.

Views: 263

Comment by Steel Breeze on April 18, 2018 at 6:37am

got mixed feelings on this.on one hand i dont agree at ALL with privately operated prisons.on the other,i dont feel that convicted criminals are entitled to ANY income.dont the legalalities,just my opinion.

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on April 18, 2018 at 6:57am

Private prisons are an incentive to neglect on a massive scale. No more such incentive is necessary or just.

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on April 18, 2018 at 7:05am

Image result for republican food pyramid

Comment by koshersalaami on April 18, 2018 at 8:07am

SB,
My own attitude toward prisons is that the punishment is elimination of liberty. It’s confinement. You don’t get to go anywhere, you don’t get to see your loved ones through anything but thick glass and talk on telephones. Personally, I’d find that awful. Most of the rest is abuse. 

I don’t have a problem with inmates earning if prison is structured such that there are places to spend that money inside. The further advantage of earning is the habits it develops. Most people in prison aren’t serving life sentences, sooner or later they go out, and if they’re not ready when they go out we stand a bigger chance of them going back in. 

Even if we don’t care what’s better for them because they’re felons, we should care what’s better for us. 

Comment by Steel Breeze on April 18, 2018 at 8:14am

one of the 'liberties' you lose is the ability to earn an income,so if your paid anything its a plus.during my tour of duty my income broke down to 32 cents an hour,and i hadnt done anything wrong,yet...

Comment by koshersalaami on April 18, 2018 at 8:57am

32 cents an hour, even adjusting for inflation, is obscene

Comment by Foolish Monkey on April 18, 2018 at 10:49am

if a citizen is sentenced to prison by a public official, it stands to reason s/he should be sent to a public institution to pay their debt to society.  public institutions are subject to public pressure, control and input.  private institutions answer to the BOD and stock holders and the public has little to no voice in matters, particularly matters of profit/loss.  

Comment by koshersalaami on April 18, 2018 at 11:47am

Exactly

Comment by Maui Surfer on April 18, 2018 at 1:37pm

(SBA- thanks for the pyramid, you indirectly answered my last question to you, MAHALO)

Kosh- the lies of the Right Wing + Power Brokers in Ag, Mining and Fossil Fuels, Railroads, etc. have prevented people from knowing the TRUTH --- Slavery never ended. The South, especially after the so called sacking and the rest of the fibbery of Sherman's Fairy Tail version of the March to the Sea, as told by the Klan, what a reliable source, leaves out the TRUTH. The South, true to its inferior state (State's Rights - hahahahahaha, the right to keep your state an outhouse) had no roads. It was serviced for centuries by waterways, then, by, finally, railroad right of ways. Well, wouldn't you know, the Kracker Klan put laws on the books saying any black person walking on a railway track or next to it was automatically sent to a chain gang; right back into actual Slavery. This went on from the 1860s to the 1960s, had a small break, then was brought back big time by the privatization you refer to here. So, there have been Black Slaves all along, during the entire herstory of the good ol' USA and its Cavalier predecessors, never mind the CSA itself which is obvious. The only difference now is that a few white drug addicts and brown immigrants are thrown in the mix. And, poor whites (Cool Hand Luke comes to mind) had their own share of suffering, though a tiny fraction of what Blacks went through, and now a Confederate Yankee wants to make it worse and bring ALL of it back ... a dictatorship.

"I can eat fifty eggs ... !) really miss Newman and G. Kennedy

Comment by koshersalaami on April 18, 2018 at 2:24pm

I knew that slavery really didn’t end, at least not completely. I remember an interview with a Southern manager of somewhere or other and when slavery was defined to him, he said that that’s the way things were right now. This interview I think was in the sixties or seventies. 

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