Private prisons have a political role in corrections issues in the US, researcher finds | 8/7/2014 | Staff
cv2angels (Posted by) Level 3
Private prisons play a political role in immigration and incarceration issues in the United States and the industry may face obstacles as well as opportunities in the current political landscape, a new paper from an Oregon State University researcher suggests.

"The big picture view of this industry shows that companies operating private prisons are political actors who shape politics and policies but also are affected by ongoing political battles," said the paper's author, Brett Burkhardt, an associate professor of sociology in the School of Public Policy at OSU. "That leaves them in a somewhat precarious position moving forward."

Findings - Issue - Journal - Criminology - Public

The findings were published recently in a special issue of the journal Criminology & Public Policy that focuses on private prisons.

The modern private prison system in the United States has been around since the 1980s. Today, the industry is a multi-faceted, multi-billion dollar market. Private prisons hold more than 120,000 inmates, about 8% of all prisoners, for 29 states and the federal government. The two largest private prison companies also operate more than 13,000 beds for immigrant detention.

Burkhardt - Paper - Research - Prisons - Politics

Burkhardt's paper reviews existing research on private prisons and the politics of the industry in an effort to identify broad themes. He found that privatizing corrections is not uniformly accepted by politicians and the public.

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