Letter: Private prisons are not the answer
I am troubled by the state’s proposal to transfer the operation of our prisons to for-profit companies.
The ill-considered rush to privatize all things done by the government destroys the function of the state whose interests are not the same as the private sector.
Does the CEO of a private company really care about the welfare of the prisoners? He cares about profitability. The purpose of a prison is to rehabilitate. The goal of a private company is to maximize profits. The two goals are incompatible. The more prisoners, the more money the CEO makes for his company.
But prisoners are not commodities. They’re our responsibility to treat humanely and responsibly. After all, we put them there.
When a private corrections company takes over, the supportive state hiring structure and training programs are gone, along with decently paid and trained employees. Then we’re stuck for whatever the private contractor charges down the road.
Some private corrections firms are even tempting state budget writers by offering to buy the state’s prisons. Money coming in instead of going out.
But plenty of evidence indicates the whole privatization experiment is an abysmal failure. Is there any going back? We would not even own the buildings.
New Hampshire is too smart to go down that road. It’s a dead end. Not good for the state, not good for the prisoners, not good for the dedicated corrections employees currently working there, but very good for some out-of-state fat-cat CEO and his company’s stockholders.