Why It Is Time To Be Done With Private Prisons

For a country nick-named “The Land of the Free”, the U.S. has a seeming obsession with putting people behind bars. And, with a shoulder-sagging sense of inevitability, incarcerating people has also been turned into a potential money-making venture with the rise of private prisons in recent years.

One of the hang-ups of the majority of the right-wing is that the free-market always knows best and does best, irrespective of the product or service. Well, if you want to have the choice of 20 different sodas, sure, why not? However, some things are just not meant to be in private hands – in particular, prisons.

Private prisons are a modern concept that only emerged in the 1980s when the Reagan’s laissez-faire approach to the economy melted effortlessly into the now infamous “War on Drugs”, resulting in a lot more people ending up behind bars. [1] Private prisons have been with us ever since. In 2016, President Obama issued a memo directing the Justice Department to begin phasing them out. In the run-up to the 2016 Presidential campaign, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders indicated that if they secured office, they would look to end the use of private prisons.

Unsurprisingly, given Trump’s pathological obsession to reverse (or simply sully) anything Obama-themed, in 2017, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed the Obama order. [2]

Rates of incarceration in the U.S. are much higher than those in comparable Western countries. While there are discrepancies between each state (with Oklahoma presently “number one” for locking people up) the rates are concerning. With regards to those relatively more lenient states:“…even [they] lock people up at higher rates than nearly