An often overlooked and underappreciated fact of life is that businesses exist to make a profit. The more profit they make, the better the business is. Unfortunately, businesses recognize that there are two ways to make a profit: Increase income, and decrease expenses. In fact, a business is at its best when it is charging the most it could possibly charge for its services, and spending the least it could possibly spend to provide those services, without losing its customers.
It seems that the state of Washington has forgotten these facts, at least when it constantly turns to private companies to handle its prisons.
The Thriving Prison Business
There are numerous companies, including the Correctional Corporation of America and Wackenhut, that provide incarceration services for states throughout the U.S. The business model is simple: States pay them on a per-prisoner basis to house their inmates.
These companies then cut every possible service they provide these prisoners, in order to pad their own bottom line. Mental health services – a necessity in prisons that are increasingly being used to keep the mentally ill, instead of institutions – are slashed. Even security is kept as small as possible: To maximize profits, the fewest number of guards necessary to keep enough order are employed.
The Private Prison System Conflicts With the Interest of Justice
One of the goals of prison is to rehabilitate a convicted criminal, turning him or her into a contributing member of society who does not commit another crime. Private prisons, though, need prisoners to stay in business. The more prisoners there are in the U.S., the more money private prisons can make.
This is why prison rehabilitation programs like technical education are virtually non-existent in private prisons. Studies have found that these programs reduce the rate of recidivism – the rate at which people return to jail after being released. If private prisons provided rehabilitation services, they would risk successfully turning convicted criminals into solid members of society that private prisons can no longer make money off of. Private prisons have a vested interest in increasing the rate of recidivism, not decreasing it.
Washington Continues to Use Private Prisons
Despite their terrible reputation and the fact that their business model actually undermines core elements of the criminal justice system, our state of Washington has continued to use private prisons to house many of its prisoners.
Criminal Defense Attorneys Fight for Your Rights Before and After Trial
Criminal defense attorneys like Steve Karimi understand that your legal situation does not disappear after a trial, no matter the outcome: It only changes. Washington's unfortunate decisions concerning how and where it puts incarcerated people is disturbing. In the long run, it will only make overcrowding in prisons worse, and in the immediate future, it subjects prisoners to conditions that they do not deserve.
Criminal defense attorney Steve Karimi fights for your rights, no matter your situation. Contact him online or call his Seattle law office at (206) 621-8777.