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For-Profit Prisons should be Banned

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/30/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,154 times Debate No: 72577
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
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30 years ago, the government decided to see if the public could run prisons better than they can. Luckily I am here to tell you that for-profit prisons do not fail. The companies put lots of care into their prisons, making them flourish and grow to become a huge success. Therefore, , For Profit Prisons should not be banned.

There might be a bit of rehabilitation in government prisons, but in private prisons, they educate the prisoners and they graduate hopefully passing the GED test to minimize the chance of prisoners returning to jail. It has been shown that prisoners under 21 have a 14% less chance of ending up back in jail ( While it may be hard to find a job with a jail record, even with a GED, they use what they learned to educate their kids so the percentage of people in prison goes down in the next generation, not always immediate.

You may wonder why for-profit prisons make sure people to come back, and there is a good reason, quality. If companies like GEO and CCA only held prisoners and did nothing for them, there would be a ton more protesters to the government, and since the government doesn"t want that, they also value quality more. Like Benjamin Franklin said, time equals money, and the more time spent fixing a company that"s not theirs the less time they have to actually help their own problems.

For profit prisons are companies, and there is more than one for profit company. Therefore, prisons have to fight to get the government to let them make more for profit prisons. While this forces them to cut prices, mostly where money is not needed, but it also forces them to have better quality. As the government doesn"t want millions complaining about how bad for-profit prisons are.

Many believe that private prisons should be banned, but private prisons aren"t even close to being that bad. To name one reason, where prisons give education, government prisons have their prisoners do community service, or, in other words, cheap labor to say they actually doing stuff with prisoners. The companies running for-profit prisons give the government more time to focus on other subjects.. As explained before, the government holds the power, not private prisons. You also must remember that for profit prisons have only been around for 30 years, leaving many, many years for the young for profit prisons to grow and become the ideal prison.

In conclusion, while for-profit prisons do have their glitches, or faults, they can easily be made more perfect as they shape into a more perfect prison. They are especially good for only being around for 30 years. They also value quantity over quality, educate their prisoners, and are shaping into a good thing.


Resolved: For-Profit Prisons should be Banned. The United States houses more prisoners than any other country in the world; this includes China, India, and Indonesia (the three other top countries, population-wise). We hold 5% of the world population, and 25% of the worldwide population of prisoners; in fact, nearly 1 out of every 100 people in the United States are in prison right now.

For-profit prisons should be banned, because they abuse and mistreat their prisoners. They are not as cost-effective as we are led to assume, and they are insecure and under-quality.

Private Prison - A prison that is owned by a business, as opposed to the government
For-Profit - A business or organization whose purpose is to make money

The government does not save money by employing private prisons. In fact, it spends more money on private prisons than government prisons.
In 2010, the Arizona Auditor General stated "that it may be more costly to house inmates in private prisons" than public institutions. Indeed, after making adjustments to allow for a more accurate comparison, "rates paid to private facilities were higher for both minimum- and medium-custody beds"the two categories of beds for which the [Arizona Department of Corrections] contracts."
In 2010, the Hawaii State Auditor stated that the state"s Department of Public Safety "repeatedly misled policymakers and the public by reporting inaccurate incarceration costs [for private prisons]." The Department used a "flawed methodology," "provide[d] artificial inmate costs," and engaged in "skewed cost reporting."
In 2007, the Federal Bureau of Prisons failed to collect adequate data to determine whether private federal prisons were more or less expensive than publicly operated federal prisons.

Private prisons mistreat and abuse their prisoners.
Violence is a common occurrence in for-profit prisons, because they try to keep staff at a minimum to save money.
Because of this violence, staff turnover is high. This results in inexperienced prison guards and staff, which lowers the treatment of prisoners even more.
From the Court of Appeals by the state of Texas, a prisoner was beaten to death by a combination of a lock and a sock in a GEO prison, while the guards stood by and watched. The guards had also failed to conduct a standard pat-down, which would have found the weapon. The court case, for wrongful death, resulted in over $40 million being paid to the family.
Professionals report that "EMCF is a cesspool. Prisoners are underfed and routinely held in cells that are infested with rats and have no working toilets or lights. Although designated as a facility to care for prisoners with special needs and serious psychiatric disabilities, EMCF denies prisoners even the most rudimentary mental health care services. Many prisoners have attempted to commit suicide; some have succeeded. One prisoner is now legally blind after EMCF failed to provide his glaucoma medications and take him to a specialist, and another had part of his finger amputated after he was stabbed and developed gangrene" (American Civil Liberties Union).
"Private prison corporations have been the subject of numerous lawsuits stemming from charges of abuse, violence, negligence, wrongful death, and other factors related to mismanagement" (Elaine Rizzo, Ph.D., Professor of Criminal Justice & Margaret Hayes, Ph.D.). Wrongful death " mismanagement " negligence " violence and abuse. Private prisons mistreat and abuse their prisoners, and they should be banned, because of this violation of rights.

Private prisons are insecure, and under-quality.
The Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility said, prisoners in private prisons, " in unconstitutional and inhumane conditions and endure great risks to their safety and security" due to understaffing, violence, corruption, and a lack of proper medical care (Patsy R. Brumfield and John W. Cox).
In 2001, a Florida grand jury found that CCA facility staff, including a nurse, "failed to demonstrate adequate health training," which contributed to the death of an inmate who swallowed several Ecstasy pills. The staff had failed to monitor Justin Sturgis, who died from lack of medical care (Cody Mason, programming associate at the Sentencing Project).
The private prisons do not even take care of their own facilities. Such quality malfunctions include ""burned-out perimeter lights, other broken security equipment, and a lax, high-turnover culture in which MTC"s [Management and Training Corporation] green, undertrained staff and rookie supervisors ignored alarms, left long gaps between patrols of the perimeter, left doors leading out of some buildings open and unwatched, didn"t alert the state or local police until hours after the escape, and failed in all manner of basic security practices" (Bob Ortega and the Arizona Republic).
In 2010, two escaped prisoners from a Management and Training Corporation (MTC) facility killed an Oklahoma couple, because the alarm was ignored by prison staff. Despite an admittance of negligent responsibility for the escapes, it took eight months and a threat to terminate MTC"s contract before the security defects were corrected by the company.
In fact, escape rates are much higher in private prisons than otherwise. Throughout a given amount of time, the escape rate measurements of one private prison will be equivalent to 20 escapes in government prisons (Douglas C. McDonald, Ph.D., and Kenneth Carlson).

Private prisons have lower rehabilitation rates than public prisons (and higher recidivism rates), because those such prisons make more money based off on the amount of crimes committed.
The Minnesota Department of Corrections analyzed 1,766 inmates from private prisons after release and the same amount from public prisons after their respective release (3,532 in all). They used this data to construct 20 different kinds of models about recidivism and rehabilitation rates, and they all showed that the governmental prisons have better rates for both categories than for-profit prisons. In fact, 8 of these 20 models showed that private prisons had significantly worse recidivism and rehabilitation rates. The evidence presented in this study shows that for-profit prisons are less more effective in reducing recidivism.

For-profit prisons should be banned, because they are insecure. They do not have the same quality standards as government prisons, and they are more expensive and costly. Private prisons mistreat and abuse their prisoners, and they therefore must be banned.
Debate Round No. 1


My opponent has claimed many false things. First, he claimed that there are terrible conditions in for-profit prisons. Despite this, he has failed to say that government-run prisons run better than these. Many prisoners get raped, beaten, and swallow sharp objects within the walls of government prisons. Even worse, the rapers are prison guards. Besides this, those who bring in the food to prisons also bring in two unwanted things that they give to the prisoners, maggots and drugs. If you do not consider the the fact that most prisoners are in government prisons for drug-based crimes. This is like someone who goes to prison for murdering, and then a guard puts a gun in their hand. These are serious crimes.
For profit prisons are also cheaper to run than other prisoners. An analogy goes great to represent this. You walk into a store and walk into the cereal aisle. You look at the Cheerios, and then at the store brand's version of it. They are exactly the same, except for the cost and the packaging. The Cheerios have nicer packaging, but the store brand is way less expensive. Which do you grab? Obviously the store brands'. Thank you.


There lies an obvious and fundamental conflict of interest in privately owned prison institutions. The private prisons reason that "it does not make sense to buy superior food, when one could obtain otherwise, for cheaper." Beyond this, why would a for-profit prison enterprise pay extensive rates for a high-end rehabilitation program when it would earn capital through higher recidivism rates?
Therein is where a number of the differences lie. Dehumanization is occurring to the prisoners in private prisons; they are used as profit, and nothing beyond, which is a significant ethical dilemma.
The last time that people were treated with objectification and used to earn a profit in the United States was the practice of African slavery, before the historical civil war took place.
Here, I ask you now: Why are people treating inmates as slaves?
Private prisons should be banned because of the dehumanization that they enact.
Government-run prisons do not treat people in such inhumane conditions, and are preferable over their privately owned counterparts.

My opponent stated, "Many prisoners get raped, beaten, and swallow sharp objects within the walls of government prisons." This may be true, but the vast majority of prisoners that are mistreated in ways to drive them to such extraneous measures are inmates in private prisons. There have been numerous reports of prisoners in private prisons, such as the CCA and the GEO prison corporations, that have "cut themselves and swallowed nails, batteries and shards from plastic eating utensils. ... [it has also been] found that inmates in 'therapeutic seclusion' were often locked in cells for extended periods without being let out for meals, recreation time or to shower" (Lisa Dawson). Inmates in private prisons are abused and mistreated far more than government-owned penitentiary institutions.
Beyond that, he stated that "those who bring in the food to prisons also bring in ... unwanted things that they give to the prisoners, [including] maggots." However, he has not supplied any evidence to confirm or prove this. It appears that he used evidence that maggots have been brought to private prisons, to claim that for-profit prisons are superior over government prisons.
It has been found that "food workers in Ohio's Marysville prison found a serving tray infested with larvae after a maggot was spotted on a turkey roll" (The Ohio Columbus Dispatch).
It has also been reported that "Catering giant Aramark has once again been caught serving maggot-ridden food to prisoners." "Maggot infestations were found in Aramark food." "Maggots [have been found] in the food service areas [of Aramark-provided facilities]." "Maggots in food ... and reports of running out of foods are among new complaints [to prisoners in private facilities]." Aramark is the food provider exclusively to for-profit prisons (not to government-funded detention centers), as they can provide their low-quality food for low prices; however, the food that they present is under-quality and cannot meet the food standards that are mandatory to the most basic and essential human rights.
This brings us once again to the ethical dilemma given through private prisons; capital is raised to private corporations at the expensive of people, which is immoral and unjust.

He has also stated that prisons provide drugs to their prisoners. However, he failed to supply evidence proving this point. He also failed to address which variety of prisons (for-profit or government) supplied any of such narcotics.
When inmates are placed in prisons for "drug-based crimes," that means that they are manufacturing, distributing, or possessing such substances. Giving an inmate drugs will not be similar to having "a guard put a gun in the hand" of a murderer who went to prison. These substances will not empower him to commit murder, unlike the simile given.

To address my opponent's analogy about "Cheerios," it is true that one would generally opt to switch to the cheaper brand of breakfast cereal, if every aspect of it is "exactly the same." In the Round 1 cases, it has been stated that government prisons have been found to save larger amounts money than the private prisons save; this contention has yet to be refuted, and the argument remains standing that private prisons are more steeply priced.
The fact stands that based on cost-analysis alone, public prisons are the highest beneficial choice.

In every aspect mentioned, prisons belonging to the government have been found to be superior over for-profit prisons run by private institutions; the quality of such privately owned prisons have been found to be egregious, and inhumane.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2


Many of you believe the false information provided by my opponent. You believe that private prisons, of for-profit prisons, have worse conditions. My opponent accuses me of not providing sources without providing any himself. He has failed to say, once again, that Government prisons are better than private prisons. I am not saying that one prison is better than another, I am saying that they are equal quality, but the private prisons cost the United States less. If you like raised taxes, vote Pro. If we get more private prisons to exist more consistently through the United States, we will not need to pay nearly as much in taxes.

My opponent has said himself that I have not provided sources, so here is a list of my main sources.

All of these sources agree that the Government prisons cost more than Private Prisons, if they say anything at all about the costs. So, when my opponent says, "The fact stands that based on cost-analysis alone, public prisons are the highest beneficial choice," he is lying. This is just one example of a time when he has lied to all of you. Will you vote for a liar? Look at these sources if you don't believe me.

There is also a word in the resolution that makes is clear that my opponent is going extreme on things, "For-profit prisons should be BANNED." Is there not much good that comes out of for-profit prisons? Sure, private prisons have their faults, but the benefits outweigh them. Does it not make sense to, rather than ban the private prisons, reform them so that they are better in quality than they are today? My opponent is telling you that there is nothing good that comes out of private prisons and that they need banned completely. They need a few changes, but they currently as good as Government prisons, and they have only been around for 40 years, not long enough to be perfect. These prisons are rapidly improving, and they will continue to get better. If we let them stay in the prison industry, they will perfect themselves.

Thank you.


I apologize for any previous misconceptions based on the citing of quotes. I used the format "quote" (author); I did in reality cite my sources.

I took the liberty of evaluating your own, and providing a number of quotes from them or evaluation for them:
1) "A 1996 report by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) looked at four state-funded studies and one commissioned by the federal government. The methodologies and results varied across the studies, with two showing no major difference in efficiency between private and public prisons, a third showing that private facilities resulted in savings to the state of seven percent, and the fourth finding the cost of a private facility falling somewhere between that of two similar public prisons" (meaning that only one study out of four found any cost savings).
2) "There is no consensus among academics and professionals in the field concerning the potential cost savings."
3) This source does say that private prisons are found to be cheaper; however, this study did not account to "cherry picking." Cherry picking is when a private prison chooses the prisoners that are cheaper to maintain, such as those without mental conditions. However, the prisoners that were not accepted by the private prison corporations still require their necessary prisons. They are sent to non-profit prisons, and still need to be paid for. The private prisons, again, do not save money (as originally thought), even though they appear to.
4) "Private Prisons cause a bigger debt for the state. For example, Montgomery County decided to construct the Joe Corley Detention Facility, operated by The Geo Group. The private prison took $45 million dollars in bond to construct. It has left the county with a large financial burden also. Even though the facility opened in August 2008 there are no inmates in the prison. Unfortunately for the county, according to County Judge Alan B. Sadler, 'did not anticipate' the potential loss of its tax-exempt status. According to Sadler, if the country loses its tax-exempt status 'the tax implications would be huge.'"
5) Again, this source did not account for cherry picking. The prisoners are still paid for; there is no money saved.
6) It is true that this source claims that private prisons save money; however, it is also true that this is written by a private prison corporation. This source is extremely biased and controversial, and cannot be trusted.
7) This source does not compare costs.
8) This source does not compare costs.
9) This source does not compare costs. It does state, however, that "The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. ... " says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being "an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps."
10) This source does not compare costs.
11) This source does not compare costs.
12) "A study by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics found no such cost-savings when it compared public and private prisons" (meaning that private prisons do not in truth save any money).
13) This source does not compare costs.
14) This source is a repeat, and does not compare costs.

Beyond these, the University of Utah found that "prison privatization provides neither a clear advantage nor disadvantage compared to publicly managed prisons" and that "cost savings from privatization are not guaranteed."

Tell me now yourself: Are private prison institutions in reality saving money?
Based on cost alone, nonprofit prisons are the larger beneficial choice.

It is true that for-profit prisons should be banned. My opponent believes that it is far easier to reform the private prisons than it is to ban them; he believes that only being in place for 40 years justifies the mistreatment of prisoners, and that the prisons will reform themselves. He also believes that completely banning something is largely extreme.
It is true that banning something is an extreme measure; however, it is not true that the enslavement of prisoners is justified. To cite a historical example, slavery in the United States did not ever improve itself, and it was necessary for the practice to be completely banned to fix the system. Time did not reform the systems of African slavery, and extreme measures were imperative to be taken.

For-profit prisons should be banned.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3


walruspn forfeited this round.


shrimpster00 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Elliott9 2 years ago
If you say that a for profit prison has good/ not bad conditions. I think that is false. If you are making money you don't necessary want to to put more money into this prison facility. Therefore, There is no Status qua of a specific condition of the prison that it should uphold. Therefore conditions diminish. See below link from the Huffington post about a specific for profit prison and about its quality of life. How can you implement a relatively normal living condition for these prisoners?
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