Independent Sources Recognize the Benefits of Correctional Partnerships
Since 1983, partnership prisons have grown from a novel idea to a trusted and practical solution. CCA has worked with government at the federal, state and local levels to resolve dangerous prison overcrowding, build new facilities and make enterprising improvements that would have cost agencies many years to achieve and millions more in taxpayer money to fund.
Critics claim that that public-private partnerships in corrections compromise public corrections agencies. They say that partnership prisons cut corners, limit services and aren’t secure. But the reality is that partnership prisons combine the efficiency and effectiveness of successful businesses with the standards, regulation and oversight of government. That’s a reality that has been recognized and verified by independent experts. They see the true results of partnership prisons – that taxpayers reap the rewards of both worlds. Public-private partnerships create the opportunity for innovative solutions that can lead communities – and the nation – into a smarter, more prosperous future.
In “Do Government Agencies Respond to Market Pressures? Evidence from Private Prisons,” Vanderbilt University researchers studied years of data from 1999-2004 and concluded that publicly operated correctional facilities actually improve when partnership prisons enter the state. “[T]here is considerable learning on the part of public prison officials,” the report states. Therefore, when the efficiencies and innovations unique to partnership prisons take hold, the public system may attempt to follow suit by addressing systemic problems in new and more effective ways. This healthy competition fast-tracks and inspires improvements and innovations that signal change for the greater good.
For example, the nonpartisan Washington Policy Center says:
- When a government seeks dynamic competition over a monopoly status quo, its culture changes. Instead of performing many functions with limited expertise, governments that are open to competition liberate themselves to perform a smaller set of core functions better than ever before, while leaving much of the routine work to contractors.
Other respected third-party studies – from national think tanks to regional researchers and local observers – also show that partnership prisons operate according to standards as high as, and sometimes even more stringent than, state prisons. In “Significant Evidence that Prison Privatization Improves Quality: Testimony to Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons,” the Reason Foundation found that:
- The major charge against [partnership prisons] is that by reducing costs, quality and security are sacrificed. Yet, there is clear and significant evidence that private facilities provide at least the level of service that government-run facilities do. Private correctional facilities have fared well against government-run facilities in almost all measures of quality.
From surveys with inmates to legislative reviews, the Reason Foundation also found that the quality in inmate services, operational performance, safety and security, physical plant and other factors strongly favor correctional partnerships. A noted 2002 Harvard Law Review article  concluded that quality in partnership prisons is not only comparable, but in some cases superior, to that of public systems. Moreover, “none of the more rigorous studies finds quality at [partnership] prisons lower than quality at public prisons on average, and most find [partnernship correctional facilities] outscoring public prisons on most quality indicators.”
 Guppy, Paul. “Private Prisons and the Public Interest: Improving Quality and Reducing Cost through Competition,” Washington Policy Center, February 2003
 Blumstein, James F. and Mark A. Cohen. “Do Government Agencies Respond to Market Pressures? Evidence from Private Prisons,”Vanderbilt University, December 2007
 Reason Foundation, “Significant Evidence that Prison Privatization Improves Quality: Testimony to Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons,” November 2005,
 Volokh, Alexander. “A Tale of Two Systems: Cost, Quality and Accountability in Private Prisons,” Harvard Law Review, May 2002, Vol. 115, 1838-68