May 20, 2011

Prison industry puts profits before public safety

Friday, May 20, 2011

Gregory King, 202-429-1145

Statement of AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee on Prison Privatization:

“Yesterday, The New York Times offered further evidence of what we have known for years:  For-profit prisons often cost taxpayers more than the funding needed to run state prisons, even though the corporate prisons can cherry-pick the least costly inmates.  Prison privatization is bad public policy because the prison industry puts profits before public safety.  Prison privatization means high rates of violence, high staff turnover, lax security, and routine mismanagement. Too many politicians – including John Kasich in Ohio – are selling state prisons off – often in return for the corporate dollars that fund their campaigns.  Kasich claims that privatization ‘provides better services at a lower price,’ yet the evidence clearly points in the other direction.

“Sweetheart deals are not a solution to the budget problems facing states.  Instead, they create costs of their own.  AFSCME documented the flow of money from the corporate prison industry to politicians who support prison privatization in our recent report, ‘Making A Killing: How Prison Corporations Are Profiting from Campaign Contributions and Putting Taxpayers at Risk.’ It is time to end this failed social experiment and provide public correction departments with the resources they need to run secure state prisons.  Transferring millions of tax dollars to private companies is a waste of money and a proven mistake.  Prison privatization doesn’t work.  Taxpayers should not have to pay extra to line the pockets of the corporate CEOs who pay politicians to run them.”   

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AFSCME’s 1.6 million members provide the vital services that make America happen. With members in hundreds of different occupations — from nurses to corrections officers, childcare providers to sanitation workers — AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.

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