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The state of New Hampshire may not only be moving toward privatizing its entire prison system, but it is also partially privatizing the process involved in making the decision.
So far, NH has had to deal with the worst bunch of teahadists that we've ever seen. Legislatively we're right up there with Arizona, Florida and Wisconsin as far as bad politics. The only saving grace is that we have a democratic (albeit a bluedog) governor to stop this extreme legislation. But now we're going to be the first to privatize the ENTIRE prison population

If you want a little history, here's what we've had to deal with so far:
No more mandatory lunchbreaks legislation introduced

"Right to Work"

Repeal the cap and trade system

We had a GOPer resign for saying 'defective' people should be sent to Siberia

So yes, we've been hit with a great deal of crap from these heartless monsters, but this has the potential to be a real stage setter for the rest of the country. Wisconsin lead the way in taking away labor rights, Arizona lead the way in anti-immigrant legislation, and now NH will lead the way in privatizing prisons, and if the teahadists get elected again in November, this will mean lobbying by the private prison companies for more "tough on crime" legislation. If they make so much money locking people up, what incentive do they have to let people out?

Corruption:

You've may have heard of this story out of Pennsylvania, it was featured in Capitalism, A Love Story:

Ciavarella, who presided over juvenile court, sent kids to juvenile detention for crimes such as possession of drug paraphernalia, stealing a jar of nutmeg and posting web page spoofs about an assistant principal (3 months of hard time).  Some of those sentenced were as young as 10 years old.  A mother of one of those sentenced by judge Caivarella lashed out at him after the guilty verdict.  Sandy Fonzo’s son, Edward, was a promising young athlete in high school when at the age of 17 he found himself in front of judge Caivarella for possession of drug paraphernalia.  With no prior convictions, the judge sentenced Edward to months in private prisons and a wilderness camp…he missed his entire senior year in high school.  Edward never recovered from the experience according to his mother and in June 2010 he took his own life at the age of 23.

So what happened to this judge?

He was found guilty in February of racketeering for taking a $1 million kickback from the builder of for-profit prisons for juveniles.
It's not often that justice is served, but the lives that he ruined will never heal. It was more than judge's fault, it was a system that allowed that to happen. When we have a system in place that allows this kind of corruption, we will begin to see more of it.

Cost:

Among many of the reasons that private prisons are attractive is because of the cost. This is one of the reasons privatizing stuff seems so sexy to lawmakers. A few less lines in the budget that they have to look at, no more public employee pensions. etc. etc. But the reality is different

Despite claims from companies like CCA, the jury seems to be out on whether private prisons end up saving governments money. An audit by the accounting firm MAXIMUS conducted for Arizona compared the cost of public and private corrections facilities in 2007 and found that, on average, private facilities ended up saving the state $5.49 per inmate per day.

But more recently, an internal Arizona Department of Corrections report released in February 2010, found that, in 2009, those savings narrowed to around $2.75 per inmate per day, and in certain instances, private facilities were found to cost even more per day than public ones.

"There's nothing definitive saying publics are better or privates are better. There's a lot of propaganda," says Michel Jacobson, director of the Vera Institute of Justice, a non-partisan research organization.

The Urban Institute's John Roman argues that at times private prisons also lack the incentive to help prepare inmates to return to society, leading to a higher rate of recidivism (inmates returning to prison) and a higher overall cost to the prison system.

This is important to note, because rehabilitation works
The 2009 Annual Report of the Office of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (OSATS), formerly the Division of Addiction and Recovery Services, includes return-to-custody data on offenders who paroled in Fiscal Year 2005-06 for a one-year and a two-year period. The return to custody rate after one year for offenders completing both in-prison and community-based treatment in FY 2005-06 was 21.9 percent compared to 39.9 percent for all offenders. The return to custody rate after two years for offenders completing both in-prison and community-based treatment in FY 2005-06 was 35.3 percent compared to 54.2 percent for all offenders.
Conclusion:

The private prison system creates more potential for corruption, and costs just as much money as publicly run prisons. If they end up costing the same, there's no reason for their existence, and even if they did save a little bit of money, the social costs far outweigh the benefits. What we need to do is get rid of private prisons completely. Outside of that, we need prison reform (which includes ending the failed "war on drugs") that focuses on treatment instead of dishing out harsh sentences for the sole purpose of looking "tough." Hopefully the citizens of NH will find out about this and urge their politicians to reject prison privatization in any form, and then work toward stopping this trend everywhere.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wasn't NH a Longtime Destination for Libertarians (13+ / 0-)

    to move into? Has this been happening; if so could it have contributed to this outcome?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 02:53:58 PM PDT

  •  Incarceration of the people who don't really (11+ / 0-)

    belong is prison can be privatized (pot heads, etc.) but there is no way to privarize incarceration of the truly dangerous. You start trying to nickle and dime those folks, and they'll shank you in a heartbeat.

    And how are you going to handle the jailhouse lawyers? I was able to eat up thousands and thousands of hours of government lawyers and court personnel yearly on highly meritorious cases.

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 03:23:56 PM PDT

  •  Disturbing. thanks for the diary. (10+ / 0-)

    "Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing." - Thomas Paine

    by blueoregon on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 03:36:25 PM PDT

  •  Not unlike aspects of education, health care, (10+ / 0-)

    and well, almost all the privatization movements.

    But this one especially needs more attention and sunlight.
    I think that it's probably the least examined and analyzed by the media and therefore the public generally.

    I would like to see this on the rec list or if it isn't at least the Spotlight where it will attrack more views and thought.

    99%er. 100% opposed to fundamentalist/neoconservative/neoliberal oligarchs.

    by blueoasis on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 04:03:12 PM PDT

    •  Bravissimo, greenpunx! _ "The WAR on The POOR!" _ (5+ / 0-)

      I have Recommended and Hotlisted the Diary:  
                          NH to privatize ENTIRE prison system
      I have done so because it addresses the issue of the swinistically greedy,
      hate-mongering racist ruling elite of America's fascist WAR on The POOR!

      For WHO would really SUFFER from the privatization of ALL of America's prisons?
      ANSWER: The POOR!   Those without JOBS or any money at all for food
      and shelter, who are forced into crime to survive; but when apprehended cannot pay for any meaningful legal defense, but instead are feasted upon by the courts, corrupt lawyers and bribe-taking crooked judges!

      For WHO would really PROFIT from the privatization of ALL of America's prisons?
      ANSWER: The RICH!   For then they would even reek profit from the further misery they have inflicted on America's POOR, who are those the most unable to defend themselves; by keeping them locked up for ever longer periods of time to profit even from their incarceration and the use of their FORCED SLAVE LABOUR!
      BOO!   BOO!  Do NOT let this happen!
                          Loyal Americans, Rise UP for Your Country!

      ! The swinistic greed and racial hatred of the American ruling elite is abysmal !

      by joe wobblie on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 07:38:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is all ALEC's doing! RGGI was their target (9+ / 0-)

    back when I was writing a diary Introducing Bill and ALEC. Next their own literature lists privatizing the prison system as one of their priorities. Please, everybody focus on getting ALEC out of NH!!  

  •  We really need to put a stop to this... (8+ / 0-)

    all over the country. If we don't, the gulags are going to end up looking like a vacation travel destination compared to our prisons.

    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    by reflectionsv37 on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 04:22:02 PM PDT

  •  the most dangerous aspect of prison privatization (23+ / 0-)

    .... is that it creates an institutionalized perverse incentive to increase the rate of incarceration, which in turn creates a perverse incentive to increase the crime rate.

    By their very nature, corporations require continuous growth, and the only way to have continuous growth in the private prison industry is to have a constant increase in the crime rate.  

    Thus you will see private prison companies finding ways to cut back local law enforcement budgets, community policing, crime prevention programs, neighborhood watch programs, and so on.

    Mark my words, this will happen.  It will be done by subtle steps, for example by propaganda to the effect that neighborhood watches are dangerous, and crime prevention programs don't work, and community policing is a waste of money.  

    There is no way out of this except to completely ban the private ownership or operation of jails & prisons, to the point where the companies doing it go all the way out of business.  

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 04:23:00 PM PDT

    •  This goes hand-in-hand with shredding the (6+ / 0-)

      social safety net - make more people desperate and force them to commit illegal acts to support themselves and their families.  I doubt they'll be pushing for smaller law enforcement budgets as they need the police to apprehend their profit centers inmates.  I expect them to push for privatized police though, and to give them the same powers of arrest as public LEO's.

      Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

      by kbman on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 07:43:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that'll be the death. (6+ / 0-)

        Privatized police forces, locking people up in privatized holding cells, so even if the charges are dismissed the people can be billed for being locked up, and then locked up again if they don't pay.  

        This to be followed by debtors' prisons.  

        This kind of shit really pushes my pacifism to the outer limit.  Not least of all because it undermines a bunch of my cornerstone attitudes about respect for the law and for the police and judges and so on.  

        OTOH, if New Hamster wants to become the New Guinea Pig for this crap, the horror stories ought to dissuade other states from going the same route.  Except for those states dominated by right-wing arseholes, who themselves will end up eventually getting swept into the hopper.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 08:31:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There was a diary on Kos that mentioned (9+ / 0-)

    that Correction Corporation of America was offering to buy, and run, state prisons.

    WASHINGTON – . . . a private prison management company is offering to buy prisons in exchange for various considerations, including a controversial guarantee that the government maintain a 90% occupancy rate for at least 20 years.
    Roger Werholtz, former Kansas secretary of corrections, said states may be tempted by the "quick infusion of cash," but he would recommend against such a deal.
    "My concern would be that our state would be obligated to maintain these (occupancy) rates and subtle pressure would be applied to make sentencing laws more severe with a clear intent to drive up the population,"
    Werholtz said.
    usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-03-01/buying-prisons-require-high-occupancy/53402894/1

    It seems to me that a lot of flexibility  would be lost by signing up to long term contracts.  

    Democrats - We represent America!

    by phonegery on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 04:38:13 PM PDT

  •  For further enlightenment (8+ / 0-)

    Bob Sloan has done lots of diaries on the topic. Many of his earlier posts were exclusively on the prison industry situation, later ones draw the connection with ALEC.

    This piece from AFSCME (pdf) gives a good overview of some of the key issues, states affected, and links to other resources.

    NPR did some good work on the topic last year.

    In addition to all the obvious reasons for objection to this pernicious movement, there are two particular areas that people should look into if a state or locality is going in this direction, and both provide good fiscal argumentation ammunition.

    1. Many of the these private prison developers extract huge tax breaks, or even full underwriting of building the facilities, with the promise of 'jobs, jobs, jobs'.  Then the facility closes, jobs are gone, and state/community is stuck with the debt and the empty building. (The NPR story linked addresses one such instance)

    2. Many of the private prison contracts are based on full occupancy. Rather than charge the state a per diem/per bed daily rate, they charge full cost. If the beds aren't full the government still pays the full cost of a nearly empty building. This obviously encourages finding bodies to incarcerate, to make the math work to any advantage. It happens not only in more draconian laws to lock people up, it involves doing some creative "recruiting", such as using facilities to hold immigrants awaiting deportation. Another approach is to contract with other states to take overflow inmates. That looks, on paper, like a reasonable business decision. From the larger perspective though, you end up with some prison facility in Texas incarcerating inmates from hundreds or thousands of miles away, effectively eliminating any family contact or support, or any effort to assist the inmate in transition back into their home community.

    I encourage you to delve into Bob's work on the creation of prison "industries" as an additional profit center, and how that impacts small local businesses who cannot compete with slave labor industries doing printing, running call centers, manufacturing, etc. This is also an avenue to get the attention of your local business community in waking up to how these initiatives will affect them.

    from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

    by Catte Nappe on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 05:03:08 PM PDT

    •  The federal government operates a nationwide (5+ / 0-)

      prison system for federal offenders and has no limitation where within the country any person can be housed. In fact, in a case with 10 defendants the preferred approach is to use 10 different prisons so that persons cannot organize collective action. Imagine what this leads to if a person happens to be with the Crips, or Hells Angels.

      There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

      by oldpotsmuggler on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 05:15:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True enough (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe wobblie, FarWestGirl, kbman

        And worth a whole different avenue of discussion. However, more people are incarcerated in local and state facilities than in the Federal BOP facilities. And it's been decades since I had any experience with the system, but back then the feds seemed to place people into half-way houses in their home areas prior to release enabling at least some community reconnection. Local/state jails just spit them out with "good luck".

        from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

        by Catte Nappe on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 05:35:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Privatizing the process (5+ / 0-)

    Diary misses a key component mentioned in the opening:

    June 5 was the deadline for a private prison consulting firm to respond to a request for proposal for a firm that can look "over the shoulder" (in the RFP's words) of state officials from two departments as they sift through as many as 20 binders of documents and some 900 drawings submitted by four vendors who are seeking to operate the state's prison system. That weeding-out process should take from July 11 to Sept. 30.
    The consultant also would be involved in helping the state decide whether it should follow the privatization route at all.

    from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

    by Catte Nappe on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 05:16:12 PM PDT

    •  is that just a window dressing component? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, boudi08

      just how independent is the "consulting firm"... who owns it... what are the job histories and connections of the consultants in it? "Whether it should follow the privatization route at all"... uh huh. That seems comforting and reassuring but without more to go on... utterly meaningless. They could be completely unbiased and that would be great... or they could more easily (these days) be a set of covert shills for the whole privatization movement.

      "Helping the state decide"... that help could be honest or completely fixed... and the report they deliver... will it be accepted with little question or be ignored if it does not totally back extreme privatization?

      Like the truth about elections... who does the vote counting is what counts...

      With something like this type of consultation what counts in the end is who does the choosing of the consultant and who interprets what their reports amount to? Who rubber stamps a narrow and gamed set of incomplete conclusions or actually asks the right questions and makes sure the review is complete and unfudged...

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

      by IreGyre on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 04:17:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Needs Reframing (9+ / 0-)
    Despite claims from companies like CCA, the jury seems to be out on whether private prisons end up saving governments money.
    The bigger problem is that this is being discussed in terms of saving governments money.  If it's going to be discussed in strictly economic terms, the focus should be on the bottom line cost to the public as a whole.  The artifice of separating government (and particularly government spending) from our broader economic life is was and always has been about the diversion of money and attention away from entities the public has the legal means to oversee, like government bodies, and toward entities it doesn't, like private companies.  When a distinction is made between government spending and the public welfare, the doors open to treachery.
    •  Thank you for the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lmnop, joe wobblie, Tam in CA

      constructive criticism. You brought up a good point. I think I did touch on that a little:

      even if they did save a little bit of money, the social costs far outweigh the benefits.

      http://punkitechs.blogspot.com/ (Punk, Technology, politics-my blog)

      by greenpunx on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 08:26:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not a critique (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenpunx

        When I said "needs reframing" I was referring to the issue in general, not your diary - I should have been more clear.  I caught your reference to social costs and wanted to expand on it.  The privatization of prisons is a really important issue that probably doesn't get enough attention and I appreciate your writing about it.  

  •  It's hard to imagine anything (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kbman, greenpunx, Hillbilly Dem, ChemBob

    much more dangerous to liberty than this development.  This is terrifying. They'll be inventing more crimes, racheting up sentences, all to serve the profit motive. Thanks for bringing us this important story.

  •  "Live free or die" my ass. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northerntier, Hillbilly Dem, ChemBob

    "I'm going to rub your faces in things you try to avoid." - Muad'Dib

    by Troubadour on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 08:14:09 PM PDT

  •  For-profit prisons incentivize criminality. (4+ / 0-)

    For-profit prisons are a great incentive for creating more criminals. Prison corporations "lobby" legislatures to create more criminal penalties, paying legislators off with campaign contributions. This fills more cells, creating greater profits, and the rising number of criminals justifies building even more prisons.

    New criminal laws will, of course, aim at the the usual suspects: the underclass.

    This is gonna cost New Hampshire big time in every respect.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:11:52 PM PDT

    •  Nobody loves mandatory sentences and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Love

      non-probatable crimes (with long terms) like the for-profit prison machine.

      The Republican motto: "There's been a lot of progress in this country over the last 75 years, and we've been against all of it."

      by Hillbilly Dem on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 03:30:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes ~ "For-profit" vs. "Private"... (0+ / 0-)

      A much better terminology! Glad you mention it here.


      I kinda screwed up with a careless uprate so (for now?) I'm a "No Rate" pariah. So when I give a comment "+110% n/t", please consider that a recommend. (That's my workaround fix to participating in this community!)

      by The Angry Architect on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 02:23:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How long until that privatized prison population (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChemBob, The Dead Man, Tam in CA

    becomes a privatized source of cheap labor for corporations both domestic and international?  How long until New Hampshire's prisoners become advertised to for-profit companies as an exploitable mass manpower source?

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 04:10:08 AM PDT

    •  How long? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boudi08

      Not long at all. In fact, it's already well established.

      Prison labor has already started to undercut the business of corporations that don’t use it. In Florida, PRIDE has become one of the largest printing corporations in the state, its cheap labor having a significant impact upon smaller local printers. This scenario is playing out in states across the country. In addition to Florida's forty-one prison industries, California alone has sixty. Another 100 or so are scattered throughout other states. What's more, several states are looking to replace public sector workers with prison labor. In Wisconsin Governor Walker’s recent assault on collective bargaining opened the door to the use of prisoners in public sector jobs in Racine, where inmates are now doing landscaping, painting, and other maintenance work. According to the Capitol Times, “inmates are not paid for their work, but receive time off their sentences.” The same is occurring in Virginia, Ohio, New Jersey, Florida and Georgia, all states with GOP Assembly majorities and Republican governors. Much of ALEC’s proposed labor legislation, implemented state by state is allowing replacement of public workers with prisoners.
      http://www.thenation.com/...
      Brilliant.  Companies get cheap, reliable labor.  Prisoners get something to do.  Prisoners wages pay for their stay in jail.  Jail personnel get paid well.  The Prison Industry is a kinetic industry.  No wonder manufacturers are moving back to the US of A.

      The following is a quick overview with some specific examples of where the prison industry stands today.  You can almost hear the money clinking in the background.

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

      by Catte Nappe on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 09:31:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Increasing Number of Zealots (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tam in CA

    Teabaggers are zealots.  As zealots they have a very directed, tunnel vision, view of issues.  Like religious zealots they tend to latch on to radical ideas and then provide unquestioning support.  Their commitment is self-serving in that it allows them to demonstrate their commitment without exercising a great deal of thought.  They are going for the low-hanging fruit that makes them feel good about themselves and provides them an easy outlet to demonstrate their commitment.

    Complicated issues, even ones that only require a mastery of arithmetic, require too much intellectual effort.  These zealots, the ones who wish to privatize prisons, are obviously shallow thinkers.  They are not alone; there are many teabagger issues that attract these zealots who wish to participate in politics, but in uniquireing, undiscerning way.

    Teabaggers are everywhere and the radical, racist, republican, conservative right has finally mobilized them  and tapped the need teabaggers have for being committed to something.   For this reason teabaggers should be pitied, while racist, republican, conservatives should be despised.

  •  Increasing number of zealots (0+ / 0-)

    Teabaggers are zealots.  As zealots they have a very directed, tunnel vision, view of issues.  Like religious zealots they tend to latch on to radical ideas and then provide unquestioning support.  Their commitment is self-serving in that it allows them to demonstrate their commitment without exercising a great deal of thought.  They are going for the low-hanging fruit that makes them feel good about themselves and provides them an easy outlet to demonstrate their commitment.

    Complicated issues, even ones that only require a mastery of arithmetic, require too much intellectual effort.  These zealots, the ones who wish to privatize prisons, are obviously shallow thinkers.  They are not alone; there are many teabagger issues that attract these zealots who wish to participate in politics, but in uniquireing, undiscerning way.
    Teabaggers are everywhere and the radical, racist, republican, conservative right has finally mobilized them  and tapped the need teabaggers have for being committed to something.   For this reason teabaggers should be pitied, while racist, republican, conservatives should be despised.

  •  Hooray slavery? (0+ / 0-)

    NOW SHOWING
    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
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    by The Dead Man on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 04:46:27 AM PDT

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