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NCJ Number: 201959 Find in a Library
Title: Comparing the Quality of Confinement and Cost-Effectiveness of Public Versus Private Prisons: What We Know, Why We Do Not Know More, and Where to Go From Here
Journal: The Prison Journal  Volume:83  Issue:3  Dated:September 2003  Pages:301-322
Author(s): Dina Perrone; Travis C. Pratt
Date Published: September 2003
Page Count: 22
Type: Literature Review
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This literature review examined the research concerning the benefits and drawbacks of privatizing correctional institutions.
Abstract: In recent years there has been a movement to privatize correctional institutions. Those in favor of privatization claim that costs of incarceration can be reduced and the quality of confinement can be improved by privatization. In order to ascertain the potential benefits and drawbacks of privatization, the authors engaged in a systematic review of the evaluation literature, with a focus on the costs and quality of confinement in public versus private prisons. The authors discuss three main issues: (1) the conclusions that are apparent in the research literature; (2) the methodological inconsistencies that hinder the ability to draw conclusions about private versus public institutions; and (3) the direction that future research should take in order to understand the benefits versus the costs of privatization. Since the data examined are inconclusive, three main recommendations are made by the authors: (1) conduct research that moves beyond the case study method; (2) when employing the case study method, examine the management practices in addition to the contracting and budgetary concerns; and (3) develop a centralized database containing the most up-to-date and accurate research information on both public and private prisons. Since the move to privatize prisons marches onward, it is important to arm policymakers with accurate information regarding the effectiveness of such a move. Tables, notes, references
Main Term(s): Privatization in corrections
Index Term(s): Cost effectiveness analysis; Cost/Benefit Analysis; Operating costs; Prison costs
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