Due to the advancing "tough on crime" narratives the politicians campaigned on, the average prison sentence being handed down has become longer. As a result, state prisons have been unable to house all the inmates and states have turned to private prisons to help fill the need. However, private prisons often write clauses into their contracts that requires that the prison stay a certain percentage full, and this results in increasing numbers of people being locked up for long term for non-violent offenses.
I believe that private prisons should be illegal because as with any private industry there is incentive to keep costs low, while keeping profits as high as possible. This in turn creates prisons that are below standards and in which the prisoners are subject to inhumane conditions that are not occurring in government-owned prisons because the private prisons are worried about keeping costs low.
Private prisons should not be illegal. Prisons cost taxpayers and the government billions of dollars a year. If another entity is willing to oversee the prisons to reduce the government's debt, the entity should be allowed to so. Additionally, if the entity can earn a profit, it can add more value to the economy.
Private prisons could be an improvement on government facilities. Competition tends to force better standards in any line of business. Prisons are the same. They should, of course, have to conform to strict standards and have regular inspections to make sure that the prisoners are being treated fairly and fed properly.