skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 203968 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Governments' Management of Private Prisons
Author(s): Douglas McDonald; Carl Patten Jr.
Corporate Author: Abt Associates, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: September 2003
Page Count: 139
Sponsoring Agency: Abt Associates, Inc
Cambridge, MA 02138
National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Grant Number: 98-CE-VX-0002
Sale Source: Abt Associates, Inc
55 Wheeler Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research) ; Survey
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report examines State and Federal governments' practices of contracting with private firms to manage prisons, including prisons owned by State and Federal governments and those owned by private firms, with attention to contracting for imprisonment services in secure facilities for convicted adult offenders.
Abstract: A mail survey was sent to directors of correction in State and Federal governments to inquire about several aspects of contracting practices as of the end of 1997. Additional information was obtained through telephone interviews with selected directors in several State. On-site visits were conducted to prisons in Texas, Oklahoma, and Florida; these included interviews with public officials and private prison administrators. Twenty-three States reported having contracts with private firms on December 31, 1997, as did the District of Columbia, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Two other States reported placing prisoners in private facilities in other States. The dominant mode of contracting with private entities for prison management is for a government agency to contract for some of its needed State prison beds and then to seek a contractor willing to provide these beds in-State. The second general pattern of contracting for prison beds poses different challenges for State management. Rather than waiting for the States to issue a call for service, some private firms take the risk of building facilities without first being assured of any prisoners from a particular corrections department. Once built and staffed, they advertise their availability to correctional and law enforcement agencies anywhere in the county that are in need of prison beds. This report discusses governments' objectives in turning to private imprisonment firms, the contractual structure, and the monitoring of contractors' performance. The case studies of contracting in particular States focus on the distinctive issues of contracting in each State. In Texas, the focus is on going private to expand capacity quickly. Florida has sought more cost-effective performance in prison management, and Oklahoma has addressed the management of the risks of dependence on private firms.
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Federal correctional facilities; Federal government; Florida; NIJ final report; Oklahoma; Private sector-government cooperation; Privatization in corrections; State correctional facilities; State government; Texas
Note: Dataset may be archived by the NIJ Data Resources Program at the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.