This morning, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to bar the state executive branch from privatizing the prison system. This decision contrasts with the state’s position on the issue last year, when it considered a bill that would send all male prisoners to private prisons. The House said that states are constitutionally required to rehabilitate inmates, so shifting this duty to private entities violates the Constitution. The bill now will move on to the state Senate.
Several private prison companies have donated generously to politicians and groups which seek to intensify drug and immigration laws, in effect producing a greater influx of prisoners. Lawmakers argue that privatization is more cost-effective for the state, but many others see that benefit as moot if the prison system seeks to grow, not shrink.
Media Resources: ThinkProgress 3/22/2013; “How Private Prisons Game the Immigration system”, NH PrisonWatch 2/28/2013
Sun in the orange sky setting over prison yard from Shutterstock