The article, “Prisons, Privatization, Patronage” by Paul Krugman highlighted that the government’s decision to privatize prisons and related public services, such as halfway houses, has come to face its consequences—escaped prisoners committing crimes all over again, sometimes even worse than what they have been convicted for. Krugman cited The New York Times’ investigative reports on this issue and case stories on what has been taking place in the state of New Jersey. These studies reveal that such private facilities are inadequately managed, with insufficient number of personnel, and poor prisoner monitoring equipment. However, Krugman also articulated that there is more to this story than poorly managed correction facilities and its private corporations’ lack of capacity to create better services.
Paul Krugman asserted that the government has taken advantage of the benefits of privatizing public service facilities, as this shift saves the government money and also enables it to hide its expenses or the money it earns from selling the facilities to the private sector. In addition, government officials have also dipped their hands into these benefits through exchanging patronage with corporations that get into this type businesses.
This article is closely linked to the field of corrections because it described how the privatization of this supposed government or public service created an impact on the field’s effectiveness. This is supported by a study published by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, which exposed that “privately operated facilities have a significantly lower staffing level than publicly operated prisons and lack management information support. They also report a significantly higher rate of assaults on staff and inmates .” As a result, these revelations put a very negative public outlook on the field of corrections and raises a lot of questions on whether or not it can still do its job.
The article also provided a good public eye opener on the reasons for this decline in the quality of social services. It explained that supposed funds allocated for public services are no longer used as they were expected to. The government has seen that maintaining public employees is a lot more expensive than establishing business contracts with private corporations that have cheaper operation costs. These funds, Krugman also reveals, could have already gone into politicians’ campaign funds and political investments through the exchange of benefits between government officials and politicians and corporations owned by friends, family, or relatives.
Evaluation and Conclusion
Personally, I think that the article was very useful in terms of fearlessly exposing the government, utilization of public funds, and the governments’ dynamics with the private sector. I believe it is relevant to discuss this issue in the field of corrections because facilities and other services have become less and less competent in ensuring rehabilitation of convicted persons. This has compromised public safety and security and would compromise it further in the future if the government continues to ignore this problem that has been existing for years.
If this continues to happen, the genuine opportunity for public servants, government officials, and service facilities to provide high levels of quality to the lives of ordinary citizens of the United States. In addition, the article also gave me a stronger believe that reforms in governance should take place, including tighter policies that should be formulated and applied in order to prevent such personal interests to prevail.
Austin, J. P., & Coventry, G. P. (2001). Emerging Issues on Privatized Prisons. Bureau of Justice Assistance, National Council on Crime and Delinquency. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Dolnick, S. (2013, June 16). As Escapees Stream Out, a Penal Business Thrives. New York Times. Retrieved October 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/nyregion/in-new-jersey-halfway-houses-escapees-stream-out-as-a-penal-business-thrives.html?_r=2
Krugman, P. (2012, June 21). Prisons, Privatization, Patronage. The New York Times, The Opinions Pages. Retrieved October 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/22/opinion/krugman-prisons-privatization-patronage.html?_r=1&