Apr 25, 2011

Task Force opposes plan to privatize state prisons

The Athens County Reentry Task Force opposes Ohio Governor John Kasich’s proposal to sell five of Ohio’s prisons and allow them to be run by for-profit companies.

Most of the discussion on the proposal so far has focused on the financial implications of the arrangement. The Reentry Task Force believes the Ohio General Assembly should reject the proposal because of the ethical issues it raises.

These ethical issues include the following:

• What are the implications of basing the operation of a prison on a purely profit motivation?

• Will a private company cut corners and provide a reduced level of custody and treatment in order to maximize profit?

• Does the existence of private prisons actually create a demand for more prisoners, which could result in locking up more Ohio residents?

• How will the demand for more prisoners impact the current discussion on sentencing reform in Ohio? The current focus is on crafting legislation that would keep low-level, non-violent offenders out of prison.

The Athens County Reentry Task Force has released a position paper studying these issues and stating the group’s opposition to the proposal. The paper can be found on the Athens County Job and Family Services website, located at jfs.athenscountygovernment.com or by clicking here.

The Athens County Reentry Task Force is a collaboration of public and private entities in Athens County working together to reduce recidivism, increase public safety and help ex-offenders become productive members of society.

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