Over and over again many of the worst abuses in our prison system happen in private prisons. Private prisons are designed and managed to maximize the profit for the companies that run them. The things that are best for these private prisons are not best for the offenders, their families, the state of Oklahoma or the communities that the private prisons are in.
Privatizing Oklahoma’s prison system means that the private prison companies have a financial incentive to work and lobby for more incarceration, longer sentences, harsh mandatory minimums, fewer opportunities for rehabilitation, and are against programs designed to keep former offenders from committing new crimes.
The United States only has 5% of the world’s population but houses nearly 25% of the world’s prison population. The state of Oklahoma ranks 3rd in the nation for incarceration overall.
Private prisons attempt to provide the answer to this problem. At the same time they claim greater cost efficiencies while providing better services than the state run facilities. Building more prisons is a measure to treat the symptom of a problem, not the cause. The cost benefits that supporters of private prisons proclaim are produced almost entirely from cuts to worker benefits, decreases to offender health and rehabilitation services, and have a much lower safety rating than those operated by the state of Oklahoma. The results are that many more violent and sexual assaults occur at private prisons than at state run facilities; all of which are a greater cost to the taxpayers.
We, the people of Oklahoma, say “NO” to private prisons. We, the people of Oklahoma, propose that politicians, who push for harsher mandatory sentencing and “tough on crime” legislation while allowing private prisons to profit, be more heavily scrutinized and asked, “what’s in it for you?”
It is the prayer of those signing this petition that Governor Mary Fallin, the Oklahoma Board of Corrections and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections hear our united voices as we say “NO” to private prisons and the twisted individuals who stand to profit for the suffering of the offenders incarcerated within the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.