The Catch-22 in Prison Privatization: The Problem with the Solution


A step into just about any state prison in the United States reveals an institution plagued by over-population, with just about every prison running at more than 100% capacity. The problem, of course, is not new but one that has received great attention. In the past decade or so the solution has been privatization of state prisons. Proponents of privatization have pushed forth the idea that private institutions are the solution to prison overcrowding. However, by looking to for-profit private institutions as a means to resolving the problems of the penal system, are legislators in fact ensuring that the problems continue? This article will show that there is indeed a “Catch-22.” Prison privatization is the solution to a problem, which if solved would render the need for privatization obsolete. Thus, if private institutions actually solved the prison population crisis there would be no need for privatization and no profits. The end result is that the privatization industry works to ensure the penal system’s problems continue and that they, the private companies, continue to exist as the solution.


Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure | Government Contracts | Law | Law and Politics | Law Enforcement and Corrections | Legal Writing and Research | Litigation | Social Welfare Law

Date of this Version

February 2007