Private Prison Facilities Not Subject to Much Government Oversight


There is no federally-mandated minimal level of oversight for facilities run by private prisons, says The American Independent. Corrections Corporation of America houses 75,000 inmates at more than 60 facilities in 19 states, and GEO Group follows closely behind with more than 60 facilities in 15 states, as well as a prison health-care arm. Michele Deitch of the University of Texas School of Law notes that private prisons are not subject to the same requirements as are public facilities on open records, “and because they have a contract with the government, not directly with the people, there is a layer of bureaucracy and privacy that is even deeper.”

Twenty-seven have bodies with mandatory inspection duties involving prisons, eight states have a discretionary monitoring authority, three have a statewide voluntary inspection body and five states have a local jail inspection body, says a study by Deitch in Pace Law Review. Seventeen states have no oversight bodies at all. The states with the two fastest-growing prison populations, West Virginia and Indiana, both have little or no regularized oversight, and no independent monitoring agencies.

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