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NCJ Number: 199980 Find in a Library
Title: Weighing the Watchmen: Evaluationg the Costs and Benefits of Outsourcing Correctional Services, Part II: Reviewing the Literature on Cost and Quality Comparisons
Author(s): Geoffrey F. Segal; Adrian T. Moore
Corporate Author: Reason Public Policy Institute (RPPI)
United States of America
Date Published: January 2002
Page Count: 29
Sponsoring Agency: Reason Public Policy Institute (RPPI)
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Sale Source: Reason Public Policy Institute (RPPI)
3415 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 400
Los Angeles, CA 90034
United States of America
Document: PDF
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This document discusses cost and quality comparisons of outsourcing correctional services.
Abstract: The decision to privatize or not is deliberative and requires weighing a number of factors, such as cost. Government procurement and service contracting are moving toward “best-value” evaluations, where governments choose the best combination of both cost and quality rather than selecting a private provider based on low cost alone. The most important cost-comparison information for policymaking is between competitive and non-competitive regimes. Privatization brings competition into the corrections industry and affects the behavior of individuals throughout the system. Workers and managers respond to privatization by improving cost efficiencies and the quality of their work. There are 28 studies that analyze costs data to measure the relative costs of correctional facilities managed by government versus private firms, 22 of which found significant savings from privatization. The major charge against privatization is that quality and security are sacrificed by reducing costs, yet there is clear evidence that private facilities provide at least the level of service that government-run facilities do. The cost- and quality-comparison literature shows that privatization saves money without reducing quality, and comparisons should continue to be conducted and data collection and comparison techniques improved. There is also clear evidence that private prisons actually improve quality. In choosing whether or not to privatize, decisionmakers should recognize the varied motivations for privatization, avoid over-reliance on cost-comparison data, use current best practices for contracting to ensure optimal results, and recognize the benefits of meeting needs and having options. 2 figures, 4 tables, 45 endnotes
Main Term(s): Cost/Benefit Analysis; Privatization in corrections
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; Contract corrections services; Correctional reform; Corrections management; Private sector-government cooperation; Privatization
Note: Reason Public Policy Institute Policy Study 290; downloaded April 16, 2003.
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