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Pitfalls and Promises: The Real Risks to Residents and Taxpayers of Privatizing Prisons and Prison Services in Michigan
“Everyone is frustrated. Corrections spending just won’t come down. The prison population has been reduced, and corrections staff have been cut. Hard choices have been made. Risks have been taken, and sacrifices have been borne—but results remain elusive … Industry groups, meanwhile, are pushing to turn Michigan prisons over to for-profit companies. Privatization, however, is not a promising path. To understand why, this report examines the privatization of prisons and prison functions” (p. 8). Eleven sections follow an executive summary: introduction—a problem with no easy solution; learning from experience—three case studies and facts; prison privatization’s cost savings are elusive; cost studies in Arizona, Florida, Ohio, and Texas; the big three reasons to be skeptical of prison privatization—cost comparisons; twenty questions to ask in evaluating a private prison proposal; corporate and taxpayer financial goals in conflict; where the money goes; problems with privatization of specific functions and services—healthcare and food services; Michigan prison privatization proposals under consideration; and recommendations.