Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Arnold Schwarzenegger Wants to Outsource California's Prison System

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2010 at 11:31 AM

This sort of thing would never happen in a Mexican prison.
  • This sort of thing would never happen in a Mexican prison.
Recently it wasreportedthat ArnoldSchwarzenegger, Republican governor of California,is interested in easing the strain on the overcrowded California prison system, and subsequently the distressed state budget, by exporting illegal inmate prisoners to Mexico, and contracting out the construction, direction, and upkeep of the prisons for to the Mexican government.As per the Governator:

Think about it—if California gives Mexico the money. Not "Hey, you take care of them, these are your citizens." No. Not at all.

We pay them to build the prison down in Mexico. And then we have those undocumented immigrants down there in prison. It would halve the costs to build the prison and run the prison. We could save a billion dollars right there that could go into higher education.

Mr. Schwarzenegger also wants to privatize more of the prison system in California, a touchy subject not just with unions, but with most inmates rights advocacy groups, due to lack of oversight and poor conditions in the private sector. Contractors likeCCAhave been accused ofcausing inmate deathsdue to lack of adequate health services. And even though these contractors won't be running the Mexican prisons, the denouncement of conditions inMexican-run prisonson our own State Department'swebsitedoesn't bode well either:

Prison conditions in Mexico can be extremely poor. In many facilities food is insufficient in both quantity and quality, and prisoners must pay for adequate nutrition from their own funds.Most Mexican prisons provide poor medical care, and even prisoners with urgent medical conditions receive only a minimum of attention.

Is that why it'd be cheaper to house California prisoners there?

And, although we may not want to admit it, both private and public prisons account for large portions oflocal economiesand thecreation of jobs. Even though pulling inmates from private prisons in California and sending them to cheaper accommodations might initially alleviate some of the pressure on that state's economy, it is hard to say whether the redistribution of the newly unemployed will be a success. In black and white, the governor is suggesting that by moving our problem to a less expensive country, infrastructure- and labor-wise, we'll be able to cut some costs. Perhaps a better idea would be to take a look at why America has264private prisons and why the UK only has12, and search for California's economic solution elsewhere entirely.

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