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Opposing Outsourcing in Corrections


            State and local governments, confronted with prison overcrowding, fiscal constraints and the promise of jobs and tax revenues in impoverished communities, have sought to outsource correctional facilities and services; and


            Private prison companies have become more aggressive in their lobbying and marketing efforts by offering to purchase existing correctional facilities and simultaneously seeking to secure inmate occupancy guarantees that can lead to taxpayer rip-offs; and


            Private prison companies, such as CCA and GEO Group, are keenly aware of industry trends and are always seeking new and different “markets,” including facilities for individuals with mental illness, correctional health care, and “alternatives to incarceration.” The result is an emerging “Treatment Industrial Complex” which has already yielded disastrous and even deadly results for those under the care of private, for profit companies; and


            Private prison companies generate profits by understaffing facilities, paying employees inferior wages and benefits, providing inadequate staff training, not paying their fair share of taxes, and providing inadequate services. This endangers communities and workers, erodes local economies, and increases the liability for the contracting jurisdictions; and


            Despite all of the ways that private prison companies cut corners, there is no conclusive evidence that outsourcing correctional facilities or services saves tax dollars. However, there are numerous “horror” stories at privately managed correctional facilities in places such as Kuna, Idaho; Santa Rosa, New Mexico; Walnut Grove, Mississippi; Wheelwright, Kentucky; and Conneaut, Ohio.


            That AFSCME strongly opposes the outsourcing of correctional facilities and services. The case against outsourcing corrections is clear. The profit motive does not improve the delivery of services, nor does it save taxpayer money. Outsourcing corrections only benefits corporations and their shareholders. The promises to communities of jobs and tax revenues never materialize. The operation of correctional facilities and delivery of correctional services is a fundamental responsibility of government; and


            That AFSCME will continue to work with allies to prevent the outsourcing of correctional facilities and services, bring facilities and services that have already been outsourced back under public control, and ensure responsible contracting when outsourcing is inevitable; and


            That our fight against outsourcing correctional facilities and services can only be won with the involvement of all levels of the union.


Patrick Gutierrez, President
Maxine Velasquez, Secretary-Treasurer
AFSCME Council 18
New Mexico

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