Private Prisons

  • 08.31.16

    Review of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Monitoring of Contract Prisons

    In 1997 the Bureau of Prisons started contracting privately operated institutions (private prisons/contract prisons.)"As of December 2015, contract prisons housed roughly 22,660 of these federal inmates, or approximately 12 percent of the BOP's total inmate population." This article is the executive summary taken f...

    In 1997 the Bureau of Prisons started contracting privately operated institutions (private prisons/contract prisons.)"As of December 2015, contract prisons housed roughly 22,660 of these federal inmates, or approximately 12 percent of the BOP’s total inmate population." This article is the executive summary taken from a Bureau of Prisons report.

    The report finds that:

    • In a majority of the categories  examined, contract prisons incurred more safety and security incidents per capita than comparable BOP institutions.

    • With the exception of fewer incidents of positive drug tests and sexual misconduct, the contract prisons had more incidents per capita than the BOP institutions in all of the other categories of data we examined. For example, the contract prisons confiscated eight times as many contraband cell phones annually on average as the BOP institutions. Contract prisons also had higher rates of assaults, both by inmates on other inmates and by inmates on staff.

    • The three contract prisons we visited were all cited by the BOP for one or more safety and security deficiencies, including administrative infractions

    • Two of the three contract prisons we visited were improperly housing new inmates in Special Housing Units, which are normally used for disciplinary or administrative segregation, until beds became available in general population housing.

    The report concludes that the Bureau of Prisons needs to reevaluate how it monitors contract prisons in order to ensure the safety of inmates, and the prisons' compliance with the law.