Imprisoned by Profit: Breaking Colorado’s Dependence on For-Profit Prisons

Source: Timothy R. Markham, Colorado WINS, 2013

From the blog post:
As Colorado tackles the issues around a declining prison population, Colorado WINS is releasing a new report that outlines how Colorado relies on the for-profit prisons and highlights the importance of prioritizing a transition away from them. “Imprisoned by Profit: Breaking Colorado’s Dependence on For-Profit Prisons” examines the costs and benefits and concludes that since the incarceration crisis of 20 years ago has receded and the state has a surplus of bed space, we need to put public facilities first….

…According to the report, “Colorado’s prison population is declining and the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) is taking state beds offline and closing state-run facilities. At the same time, state appropriations for-profit prisons rose in the 2012/2013 fiscal year by nearly $4 million and CCA was guaranteed a minimum offender population. For the 2013/2014 fiscal year the department is now requesting an additional increase in [per-diem] payments to our for-profit prison providers.”

However, the report notes, there are a lot of hidden costs associated with relying on for-profit prisons. “The for-profit prison model is marketed to policymakers and taxpayers as a way to save the state money, but the daily rate that is paid covers only the most basic costs associated with inmates. Health care, emergency response and oversight of the facilities are still obligations of the CDOC.”…