If you know anything about our criminal justice system you know that, second only to the “war on drugs”, the privatization of it is the worst calamity to befall justice in America! See the comments by our friend, Alex Friedmann, associate director of the Human Rights Defense Center.
Excerpts from the Article:
The state of Michigan would be prohibited from housing its inmates in private prisons under a bill filed by state Sen. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor. Irwin told The Center Square that the private prison industry was inherently immoral because their financial incentive doesn’t match with the rehabilitation goal of the criminal justice system.
Irwin said that Michigan’s prison population has declined from a high of about 53,000 to around 38,000, and he is pushing to continue that trend through criminal justice reform.
Irwin pointed to substance abuse of crystal methamphetamine and opiates as fueling incarceration rates, especially among women in rural areas.
“I think that ending the War on Drugs is the biggest thing we could do to continue driving down our prison expenditures and continue to progress toward treating people like human beings and not locking them up for a private, victimless behavior,” Irwin said.
Michigan’s only private prison, North Lake Correctional Facility in Baldwin, won a 10-year federal contract earlier this year to house people who immigrated illegally to the United States.
Alex Friedmann, associate director of the Human Rights Defense Center, told The Center Square that the American private prison industry exists only because public prisons, jails and detention centers “don’t physically have enough space to lock up all the people we want to lock up.”
Friedmann cited a 2016 “In the Public Interest” report that suggested, in general, private prisons have higher recidivism rates than public prisons because of a profit motive. That translates to less experienced employees and a higher staff turnover rate, he said, which means you have less stability compared to public prisons.
Friedmann said that some private prisons avoid effective methods to break addiction such as Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT), the standard of care outside prisons and jails because some of those facilities don’t like to use narcotic medication such as methadone.
Throwing drug addicts in prison won’t help them unless they first address their medical issues, he added.
“I think when people are making these decisions, they’re not really based on sound research,” Volokh said. “If you did try to base it on sound research, it’ll be kind of depressing because you’d say, well, there’s just a lot we don’t know.” Volokh’s article suggested changing private prison contracts to be contingent on results such as recidivism rates, in-prison violence and healthcare outcomes.
The bill follows the Michigan Joint Task Force that’s analyzing cheaper alternatives to incarceration as Wayne County builds a $533 million jail, according to Crain’s Detroit Business, and Macomb County considers building a $371 million jail.
Michigan taxpayers in 2017 paid $478 million on county jails and other corrections costs representing 23 percent of county spending.