PRISONS FOR PROFIT = OVERCROWDING?
Whilst reading the Morning Star today (Wednesday 25th September) I was drawn to an article by Dave Williams with the headline, "Packed US jails mean privateer profits". Now of course as an individual and a member of a union absolutely opposed to the privatisation and overcrowding of our prisons in the United Kingdom, this was an article that demanded my attention.
The article outlined the immorality of fat cat profiteering companies who just 'rub their hands with glee' at the prospect of prison overcrowding, as this would lead to more business and therefore more profit for the company, in this case the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). The company believes that the demographic trend producing many male prisoners between 18 to 24 years old is growing (does that strike a chord?) and therefore should create more demand for its services. In fact CCA has told investors that, "successfully exploiting these opportunities should result in strong earnings and cash-flow growth".
So with our prisons in the UK becoming ever more overcrowded and the prospect of increasing private sector prisons, will our Government really wish or indeed need to reduce this ever-expanding population? It is clear that as companies running private prisons get paid and earn more the more prisoners they have, then if we in the public sector moan and stamp our feet (can't take industrial action - yet!!) about shoving more prisoners in our prisons then the private prison companies will happily take them. Yes it may reduce pressure on our members in the public sector, but will lead to more dangerous work practices, higher levels of assault and high stress and burnout rates for our colleagues in the private sector. As critics in the US point out, "what is good for a private prison generally spells trouble for society". Do we want an even more troubled society over here on the back of a misguided ideology, expounded and promoted by the likes...