Biden’s Private Prisons Executive Order: A Solution in Search of a Problem?

[Our incarceration system needs reform: how about reforming it by increasing private prisons instead?]

Yesterday Pres. Biden issued an Executive Order on Reforming Our Incarceration System to Eliminate the Use of Privately Operated Criminal Detention Facilities. The operative bit is simple enough: “The Attorney General shall not renew Department of Justice contracts with privately operated criminal detention facilities, as consistent with applicable law.”

….

I agree that the incarceration system needs reform. (And not just the incarceration system itself: I would also look at the mass of criminal laws, including drug laws; and the investigation, prosecution, and sentencing processes. But O.K., let’s also look at the incarceration system.) But well-intentioned prison reformers too often blame private prisons for problems that plague incarceration generally. For some, this may relate to a broader skepticism of markets; for some, this may relate to a view that profitmaking (while possibly appropriate elsewhere) is inappropriate for prisons. I believe that, on the contrary, the problems of incarceration aren’t particularly attributable to private prisons, and aren’t generally greater in private prisons than elsewhere; the moral objections are insubstantial; and perhaps those of us who want to reform prisons might consider increasing the use of private prisons…

Source: [Sasha Volokh] Biden’s Private Prisons Executive Order: A Solution in Search of a Problem?