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Pro-Privatized Prison Study Debunked

Donald Cohen

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Whenever I hear something that sounds a little fishy, I always follow my mom’s advice to consider the source. So when two professors from Temple University touted a study praising the quality and cost effectiveness of private prisons, advocates wanted to know who funded it. Not surprisingly, it turned out that the private prison industry paid for the study, a fact conveniently missing from the professors’ early draft and media appearances.

In the Public Interest’s friend and colleague Alex Friedmann, managing editor of the monthly Prison Legal News and associate director of the Human Rights Defense Center, filed an ethics complaint with Temple University. In addition, ITPI and 15 other organizations demanded that Temple conduct an ethics review.

In response, Temple University has disassociated itself from the study. In addition, the methodology behind the study has also been called out for being misleading and its conclusions for being inaccurate. The truth is, numerous unbiased studies have found private prisons to be more costly per-bed than publicly-run institutions.

Nearly one in 100 American adults currently is behind bars. We need honest reforms, not dishonest professors. To read more about the results of the ethics complaint that ITPI supported, go here.

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