The Privatization of Prisons

Part I. Breaking Down an Argument

a. What is the first verbatim argument you are analyzing?

Canon (2015) suggests that the privatization of prisons encourage exploitation rather rehabilitation of prisoners. This is the first argument to be analyzed. Private prisons are contracted by the state to offer correctional services to law-breaking citizens on the state’s behalf. As such, they are mandated to ensure that prisoners undergo convalescence while maintaining their inherent human dignity. However, many of them have abandoned their sacred function and become profit-making enterprises, focused on reducing operational budges and increasing their margins. Bids for prisoners are won by those who quote the lowest, hence introducing questions as to the quality of correctional services rendered.

i. What are the claim, warrant and data of the argument?

The Claim

Canon (2015) supposes that private prisons exist primarily to make and sustain profitability and not to reform prisoners. He concludes that the poor facilities and services are as a result of significant economic austerity measures adopted by these facilities. These prisons are exceedingly cost-effective, limiting the execution of their primary mandate.

The Warrant

As Anderson (2009) explains, most private prisons are managed as business enterprises. They are private corporations that offer a given service to the state. They need to achieve profitability in order to sustain their operations. As such, they are inclined to offer poor services to inmates to maximize their returns.

Data of the Argument

• Private prisons are managed as profit-making firms.
• Private prisons offer poor correctional services to inmates as opposed to government run facilities.
• Private prisons must quote lower prices to attract higher prisoner numbers thus affecting their capacity to rehabilitate convicts.
• Many private prisons are overcrowded.
• Many private prisons are understaffed and lack basic quality facilities

ii. What other features of the argument are present?

Other key features of the argument include the bucking and reservations. Bucking is evidence that we should believe the claim. It is demonstrated by the reality that private prisons are underfunded, understaffed, and overpopulated, hence, they have no other choice but to offer poor quality services. Reservations constitute the moments when the data presented might be wrong. It is widely believed that private prisons commonly house undocumented foreigners. Many suppose they are dumping grounds for illegal immigrants. However, this may not be entirely true as there is no official policy stating that the prisons are a reserve for the given demographic.

b. What is the second verbatim argument you are analyzing?

The next verbatim argument to be analyzed is Goodman & Lovemen (1991) assertions that private prisons do not serve public interests. Most people would want to believe that private prisons are not up for the good of the public as a result of their retrogressive internal policies. Their models differ from conventional accredited correctional programs, hence, are minimally tailored to offer the best services to convicts.

i. What are the claim, warrant and data of the argument?


Private prisons do not serve the public interests as they do not offer adequate rehabilitation services. The primary principle of correction is to reform convicted persons to allow them to reintegrate into society. Prisons should correct these persons and impart in them the socially accepted virtues hence, make them responsible members of society. As many private prisons don’t espouse these features, they do not serve public good.


Brooks (2004) explains that most private prison programs do not meet traditional correctional standards. As such, these prisons find it awfully challenging to meet basic objectives such as the rehabilitation on prisoner into law-abiding citizens. The public is most interested in having convicts reformed by the prisons. Therefore, when prisons don’t reform prisoners, they are said to be against public interest.

Data of the Argument

• Private prison programs are not fashioned after conventional prisoner rehabilitation guidelines
• Prisoners do not offer adequate correctional services

ii. What other features of the argument are present?

Stasis of definition. Private prisons are poor in the execution of their rehabilitation mandate. They have the capacity to improve their services and tailor them towards attaining the greater correctional agenda by have maintained an administratively and operationally ‘poor’ approach.

iii. Why did you choose these labels?

These labels aptly define the missing features of the arguments

Part II. Identifying Stasis

a. What is the first set of arguments you are using to identify the stasis?

• Brooks (2004) suggests that private prisons are poorly managed but offer the best possible services given the mean budgets they operate under.
• Through private prisoners do not effectively rehabilitate convicts they remove them off the street.

i. What is the point of stasis?/ Examples of stasis points

Both arguments are in a state of resistance. The stasis point in the first statement is the opposition of the two parts of the argument. That private prisons are poorly managed is the first point of the persuasion. The second point in the persuasion is that the prisons offer the best possible services given the minimal funding they get. A stasis of resistance occurs in the two arguments as they represent two contrasting conjectures, have a varying definition, quality, and policy. There are two counteracting perspectives in the argument.

Similarly, in the second persuasion, two contrasting perspectives are presented. The first section states that the prions do not effectively rehabilitate prisoners. This statement is in resistance with the fact that they remove wrong-doers off the street, which is a positive outcome. Therefore, it is the point of a stasis of resistance.

ii. Why did you choose that particular point of stasis?

A point of resistance presents two contrasting points that balance each other. It presents opposing perspectives within a single argument.

b. What is the second set of arguments you are using to identify a stasis?

• The quality of services in private prisons is negated as a result of the cheap prices offered to the government.
• The market-driven approach assumed by private prisons is incompatible with human correctional conditions

i. What is the point of stasis?

The two arguments are at a point of rest or equilibrium. There is a premise and a fitting conclusion.

ii. Why did you choose that particular point of stasis?

A point of equilibrium stasis offers a fitting ending to a given argument. It is significantly more satisfying than a point of resistance.

Part III. Goals

a. What is your next goal in the final project?

The main argument to be explored in the final project is the justification behind the continued existence of private prisons. While these correctional facilities serve to alleviate the immense rehabilitation burden convicts inflict on the state and national government, they fail to meet their mandate. However, despite this, they continue to exist and are thriving now more than ever. The final project will explore the arguments presented to justify this phenomenon.

b. What did you find interesting about these arguments?

The fact that the quality of services offered by private prisons is far poorer than that of public correctional centers is certainly interesting. Naturally, one would assume that private establishments would outstrip their public counterparts.


Anderson, L. (2009). Kicking the national habit: The legal and policy arguments for abolishing private prison contracts. The Public Contract Law Journal, 39(1). Retrieved from Prison Legal News:
Brooks, R. C. (2004). Privatization of government services: An overview and review of literature. Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, 16(4),467-491.
Canon, G. (2015). Here’s the latest evidence of how private prisons are exploiting inmates for profit. Retrieved from Mother Jones:
Goodman, J. B., & Lovemen, G. W. (1991). Does privatization serve the public interest? Harvard Business Review, 69, 6.