Private Prison Records
Just like state and federal prisons, private prisons keep detailed records of each inmate. The government contracts with private facilities and through that contract, the prison is bound by specific federal laws and must allow access to those records for searches. These prisons work in conjunction with state and federal government agencies providing information back to the justice system and then it becomes public record.
Many contract prisons have websites with search locator features so that the general public can search and locate an inmate to find out specific information with directions to visit or how to send money.
Table of Contents
What is a Private Prison
The United States remands criminals who break the law to jail, prison and other institutions including hospitals. Some of these facilities are privately run, for-profit prisons.
The state and federal government contract with private prisons to house about 8% of the total U.S. prison population. Currently, there are more than 128K people incarcerated in these types of facilities around the country. Contract prisons are paid a per diem (daily rate) for each prisoner that the facility houses during their time there. Generally, private prisons are cheaper than state-run, but the rights and care of inmates may be compromised.
How many private prisons are in the US
Although it is unclear how many private, corporate-owned prison facilities exist in America, they are widely used by our justice system. More than 128,000, about 8.5% of all the inmates in the U.S. are currently housed in contracted prisons. The use of these facilities has risen 47% since 2000. Texas uses private prisons the most and has almost 14,000 inmates incarcerated within them. Some states use contract prison facilities exclusively, and some states chose not to use them at all. New Mexico houses more than 40% of their inmates in private prisons.
2012 was the pinnacle for corporate-owned prisons when populations reached 137,220 inmates.
Private Correctional Facility System
Privately owned corporations own and run private prison facilities. Although they are subject to a government contract at the state or federal level, they also have some flexibility and are not bound by the same laws the state and federal-run prisons are.
One of the most significant differences is that they are for-profit organizations, and they bid on contracts with the government for a per diem (daily amount) per inmate. One of the largest contract prison companies is CoreCivic. Because they are contracted but not governed by the state, they choose how to spend their money and on what services they offer inmates. They have a lot of leeway regarding day-to-day operations and management as long as they satisfy the terms of the government contract. Often private prisons are less crowded and provide better working conditions for employees.
Private Prison Inmates
Prison inmates incarcerated within private facilities are just like those housed in public jails and prisons. There is some speculation that contracted prisons steer clear of inmates with health conditions, so they can be more cost-effective in managing their entire population.
Federal criminals that commit crimes within the U.S. may be sent to public or a contract prison. Generally, it is up to the state and federal government to choose who is detained at which facility. Contract prisons carry the overrun when public prisons are overcrowded or filled to capacity. Government contracts may dictate the level of involvement, quality and care that the private prisons provide.