Graeme Wood profiles the leading privatized prison, which specializes in holding illegal aliens:
Judy Greene, a criminal justice expert at Justice Strategies, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit research group, says that when contract prisons do save money, they often do so at the expense of their labor.
At the privately operated prisons, she says, "labor is cheap, wages are lower, and benefits are few. And across the board you see the impact of that." The rate of escapes, violence, and contraband in the private facilities tends to be higher than in their public counterparts, she says. [The Corrections Corporation Of America (CCA)] denies this and says its rates have compared favorably with the public sector. Friedmann tells an anecdote about a CCA guard who requested a 10-foot pole to let him poke into trash cans leaving the prison for the dump, so that he could more easily check whether someone was trying to sneak out in a can. The request for the pole was denied, and a prisoner escaped soon after.
(Hat tip: The Daily Beast)