Does the market provide incentives for privatization of correctional facilities?
In microeconomics, I teach that the profit motive drives innovation and quality improvement. In monopolistically competitive markets, firms seek to differentiate their products by competing on non-price areas such as service, quality, speed, and location. Can a for-profit institution such as a jail deliver quality rehabilitation better than a state run? Can a private correctional facility decrease the rate of recidivism?
A state run prison is a monopoly. By definition, a monopoly is inefficient. Perhaps government workers have the incentive to shirk since their job is guaranteed. The workers might not see to the safety of the inmates. The guards might be hastily trained or the training might be minimal at best. Does a profit minded institution offer a better solution?
In the US 1 person in 175 are incarcerated. There are 2.2 million prisoners in our prisons. I'm told that sentences are cut short because there's not enough space to put all of the inmates. Of the 650,000 convicts set free, 2/3 will commit a crime and return to prison.
A for profit prison might have the incentive to ask law makers for longer sentences or law that impose a harsher sentence since their incentive aligns with a growing prison population. Is it possible to believe that a for profit prison will rehab an inmate when their profit is derived from incarceration?
There's no doubt that a for profit prison will save tax payer money and create jobs. I'll bet many for profit prisons would take the Gitmo detainees. I believe that a for profit prison will create a better penal system.