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Keywords:

  • Private prisons;
  • Staff separations;
  • Inmate misconduct;
  • Survey

Research Summary: Private prisons incarcerate 5.3% of the sentenced, adult population in the United States. The present study presents selected results from a 1999 survey of administrators who monitored private prisons in the United States (or U.S. territories). Among the findings of interest, the private sector experienced significant problems with staff turnover, escapes, and drug use. Where possible, private prison operations were compared with those of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Policy Implications: Given the issues raised here with public safety, public sector agencies contracting for private prisons need to develop incentives or other means to ensure that private sector operators retain experienced custody staff.