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  1. Private sector and the criminal justice system.
  2. The root causes of the new high demand for prisons.
  3. The media in the push for harsher sentencing laws.
  4. Corrections-officer unions and corrections corporations.
  5. Private companies and cutting costs.
  6. Failure of the private prison industry.
  7. Conclusion.

A third party has entered the scene of the U.S. prison system: the private sector. A handful of for-profit Wall Street corporations are currently making millions of dollars from what some critics call ?dungeons for dollars.? Such corporations claim they can build and run prisons more efficiently and cheaply than the government does, and offer their cells to needy governments at below-market prices. After an examination of history, cost-benefit analysis, alternative programs, economics, and ethics, it becomes apparent that this current trend of privatization of the American prison system is unjustifiable and undeniably harmful to society.

[...] The first case example of deficient private prison operation is with Esmor Correctional Services, Inc., a publicly traded company based in New York (91). Esmor's $54 million bid, which was a whole $20 million less than the next bid, acquired a contract for a 300-bed detention center for illegal immigrants in Elizabeth, NJ (Donziger 91). The company hired correctional staff with little or no expertise, served a substandard diet to the inmates, and shackled detainees in leg irons when they met their lawyers (Donziger 91). [...]

[...] The media is certainly another major entity in the push for harsher sentencing laws, for Bush's gubernatorial campaign would have been unsuccessful if it were not for his ads depicting a man violently abducting a woman - the woman is then later shown with a blanket over her dead body (Donziger 80). Exit polls revealed that his opponent lost the election partly because of these ads on crime (Donziger 80). Media - newspaper, radio, and television brings the civilian population news and entertainment, but often with a hidden message. [...]

[...] For instance, a 1991 Department of Justice analysis of the state prison system proclaimed - in favor of expanding prisons that, of inmates had been convicted of a violent crime or had a previous sentence to probation or incarceration.? Journalists, think tanks, and politicians at every level of government have cited this statistic to justify the rapid expansion of the prison population. However, this statement is greatly misleading because it joins three elements together in one lump: previous conviction, previous sentence, and incarceration. [...]

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