Ole Miss Blues

This week in class we’ll be talking about incapacitation so I thought we’d take a look at one fairly new facet of the American Prison System: the privatization of prisons. There are some benefits to private prisons that we’ll talk about later on in the semester, but this week’s ARTICLE will address some of the more negative aspects. What are some things that stand out to you?

12 responses to “Ole Miss Blues”

  1. Michael Brody says:

    The privatization of prisons has brought many aspects of corporate America into the realm of prisons. Just as any corporation, private prisons have the ability to make great profits and give rise to contractors such as Management & Training Corp., mentioned in the article, along with Corrections Corporation of America.
    Moreover, some things that stand out to me consist of the violence at Walnut Grove, how often rape occurred, denied access to medical care, along with organized, encouraged gladiator fights, and finally, most pronounced, was the sex between the then prison warden with a female inmate.
    In sum, private prisons are not only harmful to prisoners, but the community–these communities give up a lot to potentially gain all the benefits that such prisons offer, if they can stay open.

  2. Paxton Bergin says:

    Obviously this was a very poorly run facility. Although it is a prison it is a for profit business that people are trying to make money on. So to make money they obviously settled for lesser quality staff members because they accepted less pay. With that being said, I think it is sad that this was allowed to happen. Even though the prison is privatized I would think that they would run background checks on guards… why are there guards who are part of gangs?? Also, why is the smell of marijuana in the air? I would think that when the gentleman from Southern Poverty Law Center reported it authorities would be in the next day shutting the place down. I think that when properly run and regulated privatized prisons can cause a positive impact by allowing the government to worry about one less thing. Not only that but I also think that privatized prisons (again if utilized correctly) could create an opportunity for rehabilitation by private doctors. I dont always want to say that private is better, but if for example we look at private defenders vs public defenders then look at the number of persons convicted and charged with the death penalty, private defenders have a lot better chance at getting their client a lesser penalty. Maybe private prisons have a better opportunity at rehabilitating people because they wouldnt use “public” nurses and doctors. Essentially, Im on the fence.

  3. Jessica Kaemerer says:

    Clearly stated in this article, this privately run prison has no benefits to it at all. Walnut Grove was very poorly ran. It seems to me that the staff was the root of most of the issues. The private prisons are supposed to bring in revenue so maybe that is why they hired such terrible staff. There are multiple things that stick out to me about this prison. How could the guards allow rape to occur and then deny medical care? And also it is definitely not right for guards to be apart of the gangs when they are supposed to be preventing gang activity in prison. And finally it was very irritating to read that a guard took a female inmate out of the prison to have sex with her then made her lie about it. That place deserved to be shut down and hopefully people can learn from this to do a little better of a background check on people they are about to hire.

  4. Sydney Hanick says:

    Privatizing prisons is not a bad idea to help keep public prison’s populations down. However, a lot more can go on in private prisons without knowledge. One of the things that stood out to me was the behavior of the guards. The guards treated the prisoners as less than humans. They had sexual relations, encouraged violence between in-prison gangs, and even used extreme violence with prisoners. Some of the guards even part of gangs and allowed prisoners out of their cells to go use violence against a rival gang. I also think it was crazy that the entire prison smelled with overwhelming marijuana. Lastly, the most bizarre thing was the fact that the warden of the prison at one point, took a female inmate out of the prison, to a motel, and had sexual relations with her.

  5. Tim Dies says:

    While overall I don’t think that the privatization of prisons is a good idea for similar reasons to the ones described in this story. I do believe that events that occurred in this particular prison were extreme and do not occur at most other private prisons. I think private prisons would have the possibility of working, I simply think that they need to be regulated very strictly to make sure that the events described in this article don’t occur in other prisons as well. The problem that I see here is that even when wrongdoings are found like in the report from 2012 little to nothing is done about it. They removed the younger inmates from the prison thinking that might help but it had no effect on the corruptness of the prison. I have heard of other instances although not mentioned here where judges were paid to send people to private prisons. They did this because the amount of funding a prison received was based on how many prisoners they had, and then the judge would receive compensation under the table from the prisons for sending prisoners to them. This is one of the many problems that can arise with private prisons and is why they need to be regulated more closely in order to become effective. We should not be okay with corrupt prison guards and inmates running our private prisons.

  6. Katie Bucher says:

    I think that it will be interesting to learn about the benefits of private prisons in class because this article does not make it seem like there are any benefits whatsoever. Some of the negative aspects that stood out to me are older prisoners are raping younger inmates. There are problems with guards, such as: drugs entering the prisons, smuggling in weapons, sexual relationships between guards and inmates, and denial of access to medical care for inmates. Along with that, guards are telling the inmates to partake in gladiator fights. The private prison system does not seem safe for prisoners. There are corrupt prison guards that don’t respect the basic human rights of prisoners. Although inmates are in prison, they are still humans and need to be treated respectfully.

  7. Kasey Miller says:

    What stood out to me was truly how poor the conditions were in this institution. That some of the actual correction officers were part of the gangs that they keep in control. This just blew my mind. In what institution would they allow this to happen. Its scary that this privatized prison institution is actually making money. For them to receive funding is crazy. I understand that businesses want to cut expenses and increase gains, but you have to do that in a morally and ethically correct way. And from what I have read through this article, I can see why it is no longer in operation. I’m interested to hear some positives about privatization prisons in upcoming classes.

  8. Kelsey Schoenherr says:

    It was concerning to me how long this facility was operating under these circumstances. What stood out to me the most was where it stated that rape among inmates was common, guards denied inmates medical care, guards were having sexual relations with inmates, and that there were drugs and weapons being smuggled in for them. What was even more shocking was the fact that only one officer was stated to be punished for his inappropriate actions. Also, if it was just as much for tax payers, it will sure be interesting to hear what the positive aspects about private prisons are.

  9. Shannon Lefebvre says:

    I can’t believe that a facility like Walnut Grove stayed open for so long. Rape, drugs, gang activity, and weapons are all supposed to be crimes happening outside of the prison, but yet these inmates could access it almost easier than if they were free. Yes, the private prisons helped the local economy, but is it actually worth it? Even though these institutions were private they still collected tax payers money, so in reality they weren’t even that great for the economy. There are so many more negatives to private prisons then positives.

  10. tiarra says:

    The first thing that stood out to me was the first paragraph, the fact that the prison was “effectively run by gangs in collusion with corrupt prison guards” Now I didn’t think this really happened in prisons; and that TV exaggerated this expect of prisons. I didn’t know private prisons were more dangerous, I thought these were the more secure facilities because it takes more money to build them, run them as well. This facility was supposed to be ran by high in guards who knew what they were doing. They basically hired anybody to run this facility. It is moneymaking machine no doubt about it. But then again I guess since they house federal inmates that’s why it was deemed dangerous and “less effective than prisons run by the government”. I was also puzzled by the rap reports, I know that rap occurs in prisons but I did not know that the prison guards take as much part in it as well. In helping cover them up, also denying prisoners “access to medical care, while smuggling in weapons and drugs”.
    When they talk about the guards having sexual relationships with others this make me think of when my Aunty had almost got charged for having relationships with an inmate and helping him smuggle things into the prisons. She claimed that she was getting money for doing this and also he was able to gain a lot of money out of it as well. But I am just lost on how no one notice the stuff if he had so much money. They weren’t concerned on how he was getting the money?
    A lot of times these prison guards be the ring leaders of these gangs, you have to get in good with inmates they feel like for their safety or just because they want to feel even more superior to the inmates. This becomes an advantage to inmates if they get in good with guards because they basically get to do what they want live a regular life with no penalties unless they all get caught.

  11. Brandon Layber says:

    The Walnut Grove Correctional Facility is a shining example of why the privatization of prisons may be bad. With the privatization of prisons, a trend occurs where law and corrections is put in the hands of a profit organization instead of in the hands of law enforcement. This in turn can cause private prisons to operate poorly or well such as all the constitutional violations happening inside of Walnut Grove Correction Facility. Any business manager would agree that the goal of a company is to maximize profit, minimize spending. In a capitalist society, the business of private prisons not only is in it for the money, but places income at a higher level of importance than the inmates. The loose watch of employees hired in the private prison was also an alarming problem that stood out. Some guard’s were said to have gang affiliations, some even being proactive with their own gang members by letting them out of their cells. Another guard was sentenced to seven months in federal prison for having intercourse with a female inmate in a hotel. In conclusion it is apparent that corruption is the main problem with private prisons as compared to state ran prisons.

  12. Adam Earle says:

    I had heard of this happening at prisons before, I think that this is a result of making prison a profit business. I think that prison shouldn’t be run by private companies because I feel that the purpose of a prison gets changed. The purpose of a prison should be more clearly stated. We, as a society, need to focus on rehabilitating these criminals. Many of the inmates that fill our criminal justice system are in for petty or non-violent crimes. I believe that we could quite easily motivate these inmates to improve their life once they get out of prison.

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