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That prisons should be privatised


Cross-Examination In Progress

The chair calls upon all sides to engage in cross-examination

Time remaining for cross-examination: 2020-05-27 13:34:33

The Debate So Far

Bugsy460Bugsy460 (PRO)
Thank you for accepting the debate, Kush Sharma. I will outline any definitions that need to be made and go on to proving the resolution.

1. Privatize should be defined as "to change from public to private control or ownership". 1 The reason this definition is important is because privatize is different than regulate. This distinction is key because issues that can arise from mismanaged or loosely regulated private facilities could be solved with regulation. This difference is a key answer I might need to utilize against con attacks, so I need to ensure that the definition is accepted within the round.

2. It's cheaper to run private prisons and would save the taxpayer money. A survey of 30 facilities found that it is 28% cheaper to run a private facility. 2 Creating cheaper alternatives has to be one of the main goals for government spending because of how tax money is used. Tax money is taken from everyone within a governmental area and is spent on things that benefit the general populace. The state, however, needs to be cost effective with these funds to best ensure that taxpayers' money is being well spent, especially at the state level. At the state level, lower income families actually pay more in taxes. 3 These lower income families can use every cent they can get, so we need to try and save them as much money as possible. Even if these funds are put into education or welfare programs, this would better help lower-income households than state run prisons.

3. Private prisons create jobs and boost local economies. 4 These benefits, coupled with the fact that most prisons are built in rural areas, 5 means that private prisons can help boom collapsing rural economies. Rural America is simply dieing economically, 6 and private prisons are the way we can revitalize these areas. With private prisons benefiting rural economies, plus, either government investment or tax cuts to these areas from cheaper prisons, will ensure that rural areas will be revitalized and economically sound.

4. Private prisons help solve overcrowding. States that may have too many prisoners for prison beds can send them out of state to private facilities. 7 The alternative being letting loose hundreds, if not thousands, of potentially dangerous inmates. Prison privatization is already here, and without hundreds of thousands of prison beds standing by, prisons will be dangerously overcrowded. Overcrowding cause psychological damage to inmates, which leads to mental health issues, assaults, self-harm, and suicide. 8 There is no surplus of beds to house all of the private prisons' prisoners in the status quo. Prison population spikes started with the War on Drugs in the 1980's, 9 but without reform to criminal policies, private prisons are a necessity to help alleviate overcrowding.


Private prisons are cheaper, boost local economies, and alleviate overcrowding caused by the War on Drugs. They are a crucial solution to prison based issues, and hopefully we fully privatize prisons.

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-05-16 21:25:08
KushKush (CON)

I would like to express my gratitude towards Bugsy460 for debating with me on this resolution.

     I agree with your definition of privatization. But how about we look at a definition of prisons (via Google):

“a building in which people are legally held as a punishment for a crime they have committed”

     So, the main purpose of prisons is to hold persons who have violated the law in a disgraceful manner and are too dangerous to be left out in the open. But more often than not, this isn’t the case. A large number of the prisoners have been charged with misdemeanor. According to a study, 46% of the inmates are non-violent. This means that they have been charged with something minor like, petty theft, or gambling, bribery etc. But putting them behind the bars for such a misdemeanor for the rest of their lives is just morally wrong. Instead, what we should be doing is rehabilitating them. According to a study, 43% of the state prisoners are rehabilitated and released.

     In a study it states, “Private prisons have no real incentive to rehabilitate prisoners. If they make their profit from criminal society, it goes against business sense to reduce criminality.” So, all private prisons are looking for is profit, even at the expense of civilians. Just to prove my point, a 2016 report by the U.S. Department of Justice stated, “privately operated federal facilities are less safe, less secure and more punitive than other federal prisons.” Shortly after this statement, the DoJ (Department of Justice) announced it will stop using private prisons.

     As for the second argument made by PRO, I completely agree that cheaper alternatives should be a priority when it comes to other resolutions, but not this one. Prisons are created to keep the citizens safe, but if the government becomes too greedy and seeks out the cheapest options, then they will be undermining the safety of their civilians. My opponent also argued that private-prisons create jobs. Maybe, they do, but the jobs that are earned by the rural population aren’t exactly productive. The jobs do not really benefit the cause of prisoning the violators of the law. Another report by the Department of Justice said, “To achieve their modest savings, private prisons tend to cut back on staff costs and training.... private facilities pay their officers less, provide fewer hours of training and have higher inmate-to-staff ratios.... as well as the uptick in inmate assaults.” So, if we think about it, if a fight broke out between the inmates, the state facilities officers are better equipped than the officers of the private facilities. Hence to save their pennies, the private prisons are ready to put the inmates’ lives and the civilian population’s lives at risk. And as far as employment is concerned, employment for the prisons is already available through the federal prisons.

As we have already noticed above, private prisons are primarily based upon the profit they receive. But, like everything there are downsides to this. A study performed in the University of Wisconsin notes that the sentences served in for-profit prisons is 7% higher than the sentences served in state prisons. So the private prisons are willing extend the sentences of their inmates even though their sentences are fullfilled, for the sole aim of earning profit.

     As you might have noticed, a lot of my citations are from the DoJ (Department of Justice). And all of their reports are against the privatization of prisons.

     So now, the question I would like to ask the PRO is if your own government is against this resolution for rational reasons, why are you being so irrational and oblivious to the fact, privatization of prisons aren't logical because of their impracticality.


Return To Top | Posted:
2020-05-17 12:46:59
Kush Sharma: How exactly do private prisons boom the rural economies?
Bugsy460: They create jobs in rural economies, which I showed are systematically failing in the status quo.
Bugsy460: Is there any issue you outlined with private prisons that couldn't be solved with regulation?
Kush Sharma: The issues could have been solved by regulation but these are private prisons, and the only persons who regulate are the private corporations themselves. The government leaves the private companies alone in exchange to hold the prisoners.
Kush Sharma: All of the issues I mentioned have happened over the years. If you are talking about regulation then you are thinking of the ideal private prisons. But that isn't realistic. Let us debate and discuss purely based upon the facts and events that actually have occured over the years, not what could hav been.

Return To Top
Bugsy460Bugsy460 (PRO)
I'm going to defend my case and attack my opponents points.

My Case

1. He didn't deny that it was cheaper, he just said that shouldn't be our top priority with prisons. He ignores the plight of lower income families and the struggles they go through by making that claim. He says cost isn't the top priority, but when those funds could go into programs that could assist impoverished families, it needs to be our top priority. If the money is shifted to tax cuts, education, social assistance, or a multitude of other programs that could better assist these people. By putting any other factor than cost as the most important issue, you then say that factor matters more than trying to assist lower income families.

2. He says they are low quality jobs, but this could be solved with regulation. The government creates contracts with these private prisons, and can implement regulations. He agreed with my definition of privatization, and admits in CX there's nothing stopping regulation from solving this issue. Private prisons are relatively new, only coming around in the 80's. The federal government has had enough time to see the issues from private prisons and implement regulatory solutions. Unless my opponent has specific proof that regulation wouldn't happen, then it is still a logically viable option.

3. My opponent doesn't answer my overcrowding point. This is crucially important. If we didn't privatize prisons, there would be thousands of criminals with nowhere to go. Private prisons were the answer to the overcrowding caused by the War on Drugs, and these policies haven't been reversed. Without reversing them, we can't get rid of private prisons.

Opponent's Case

1. The main point my opponent made that wasn't based on my points was recidivism. There's two issues with this argument.
A. There isn't a difference in recidivism rates. Private prisons aren't better or worse at making prisoners recommit crimes. 1 This point becomes a wash, because without there being a significant difference in one direction or the other, this statistic doesn't prove one is better than the other.
B. Regulation can solve. I don't mean to use this as a cover all for any claim my opponent makes, but it really does. He has to advocate for no private prisons, but I get to advocate for private prisons in any form for the sake of the debate. There is even regulation frameworks in place in other nations. Australia and New Zealand are trying a system where private prisons get bonuses for lower recidivism rates and get fined for riots and high assault rates. 2 These frameworks are working for those nations and we can ensure that they create better prisons for the future.


Regulatory frameworks are in place to ensure that the safety and rehabilitation for prisoners are at the best possible they can be. The problem with private prisons isn't that they're inherently a bad idea, the problem is that the government hasn't done their job in regulating this new penal option. That is on the fault of the state. Private prisons solve overcrowding, rural economic depression, give more money to the taxpayer's, and work perfectly fine if the government does their job in ensuring that they are properly regulated.

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-05-22 19:30:15
KushKush (CON)

My opponent has made two main arguments:

  • Cost-effectiveness of private prisons

  • Regulation by the government is key to the success of the private prisons

But researches and credible sources have to say otherwise. Let us first look at cost-effectiveness. The opponent argues that privatization saves the taxpayer money. But Eric Young, the president of the Council of Prisons says, “This is yet another example of trying to save money at the expense of community safety….It’s unacceptable to take an inmate in the community without being supervised by trained federal correctional officers. And on top of jeopardizing safety, both the Bureau of Prisons and Government Accountability Office agree that  private prisons don't save taxpayers money in comparison to federal and state facilities.”Apart from this, the Washington Post found similar results. They said in their article, “Many private prison companies try to save money on inmate health care, selecting younger and healthier inmates to house – leaving many of the sick, old and mentally ill inmates to remain in public incarceration. Even with this selective incarceration, the SAVINGS ARE NEGLIGIBLE.”So, in reality, private prisons cost more than public prisons even though they apply selective incarceration and jeopardize the safety of their citizens as well as their inmates.

Moving onto the second argument made by the opponent, regulation is key for success. As I mentioned in the first cross-examination, looking at a firmly regulated private prison, we think of the IDEAL private prisons. But, taking an idealistic approach won’t help us come to a conclusion about this resolution, but looking at hardcore facts will. First of the important aspect we will be looking at is that, the private prisons aren’t forced to submit to the Freedom of Information Act. Hence, they can remain shrouded with secrecy regarding to how they operate. There are also cases when the corporation builds a facility without a governmental contract, with the expectation that their services will be needed in the future.These kinds of prisons are called ‘spec’ prisons. Almost every single one of the private prisons in the U.S. are ‘spec’ prisons. These prisons have very few accountability measures because initially, they don’t have a governmental contract. But when the government becomes desperate, the corporations are able to force a better deal and FEWER REGULATING MECHANISMS.

My opponent, while looking at this resolution only was looking at one kind of scenario, cost-effectiveness. Taking a more holistic approach when considering this resolution has proved to be more productive—like me and the Government Accountability Office. In their 2007 report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) stated, “for any comparative study of private and public prisons call for the comparison to be based not just on operational costs, but on a variety of factors including selection of facilities with similar characteristics, i.e.,staffing levels and programs offered and quality of service.” And as I have already proven, the private prisons tend to cut off the staff training, have no real incentive to rehabilitate prisoners and thus offer the worst quality of service.

So, why should we privatize prisons?


Return To Top | Posted:
2020-05-23 12:17:32
Bugsy460: How is it idealistic to imagine regulated private prisons when their is verified example of regulated private prisons in Australia and New Zealand
Kush: I agree that there is an EXAMPLE of private prisos in New Zealand and Australia, but VERIFIED, not so much.
Kush: The private prisons in Austraolia and New Zealand are just as illicit as the ones in U.S.A.
Kush: I would like to apologize because I cannot elaborate on what I started as there is a word limit to post in the cross-examinations.
Kush: I assure everyone that I will elaboate the frist thing in the next round.
Bugsy460: So, just to clarify, you're going to clarify why the Australia and New Zealand prisons are just as illicit?
Kush: Yes, I'll do it in my last argument.

Return To Top
Bugsy460Bugsy460 (PRO)
I will cover my points and then cover my opponents points.

My Case

1. He claims that savings are "negligible", but real numbers don't share this same information. Medium-security prisoner costs in a state-run facility are $64.52, while private prisons cost $58.62.1 These numbers add up over thousands of prisoners. To claim it's "negligible" isn't a fair analysis of the true costs for prisoners. My opponent cites where the prices are "negligible", but fails to give us numbers to back this up. Next, he claims that we have to holistically look at prisons rather than just the prices, but fails to even acknowledge overcrowding, as I'll elaborate on later. Even if the savings were negligible, that just disproves my point, but it doesn't prove they're bad. Without any evidence that private prisons are bad, there is no reason to privatize.

2. He says regulation can't solve the issues with private prisons, if they be treatment of prisoners or quality of training for employees, but regulation can solve. Regulation ensures that we can have the cheaper option without losing quality. He claims it's idealistic with no reason why. There are empirical examples in both Australia and New Zealand of contracts that can be drafted that ensure we have high quality private prisons. He later claims there are examples of contractless prisons during rough times, but this exactly where they private prisons originated. Private prisons were created in response to the overcrowding of the War on Drugs, which is a crucial point.

3. Overcrowding is the worst factor for prisoner's wellbeing. Overcrowding causes one of two outcomes within the prison system, either there is huge mental health issues within prisons and higher numbers of assaults, or we have to release criminals in the streets of communities. My opponent attacked my previous two points, but failed to even address overcrowding. This is the "holistic" approach my opponent wants to use to address the issue of private prisons. Overcrowding is the most dangerous issue that can face prisons of all kinds, and governments know this. He brought up how corporations can get better negotiations when the government is desperate, but this is due to solving overcrowding. The government can use less regulatory contracts during periods of overcrowding to facilitate prisons being built, then renegotiate contracts to have heavier scrutiny after the prisons are constructed. Without trying to solve overcrowding in some form, you doom all prisons to fail communities and prisoners.

Opponents Case

The only point my opponent makes is that they have lower training quality. He gives no reason why this can't be solved with regulation, except for calling it "idealist" which it is far from. There are examples happening in other nations that show that we can easily regulate better training and treatment of prisoners. Without any evidence why that isn't an option, there is no reason to say we can't privatize prisons.


Privatization is the best option for prisons. It's cheaper and it solves overcrowding. Any issues that have been shown with private prisons happen because of a deregulated system. Regulation can be used to ensure treatment of prisoners is humane and guards are trained ethically, while keeping costs down on construction and management of the prison. On top of all this, we can help rural communities revitalize their economy and ensure they are trained and paid properly. Privatization creates a cheap solution that we can regulate for safety, all the while solving the overcrowding our criminal justice system has caused.

Sources (I finally remembered to put it in the speech.)

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-05-26 16:59:59
KushKush (CON)

So, first off, I promised to elaborate on the point I mentioned in the previous cross-examination. I will now prove how Australian and New Zealand private prisons are as illicit as the ones is United States.

The prisons in Australia have been involved in countless cover-ups. First let me explain the bonus and penalty system in the private prisons of Australia. Private prisons receive funding from the government on a bonus and penalty basis. Bonus can be reduced due to riots and deaths in custody, penalties can be charged for erroneous discharges, assaults, prisoner drug use, etc. There is a tendency in covering incidents as the facilities could be threatened the loss of  bonuses of $500,000 annually. Now let us look at a statement made by Queensland Prison Officers Association secretary Brian Newman. Mr. Newman said, “Nine years ago I worked at Arthur Gorrie (Correctional Centre atWacol, west of Brisbane) and I would make drug finds but the drugs would be flushed down the toilet in front of me by senior officials," Mr. Newman said. "You were powerless to do anything about it.” So, just to save their backs and not lose their bonus, Australian private prison employees are involved in cover-ups like these, where they get rid of drugs to make sure no penalty is charged on them. And surprisingly, these aren’t the only incidences when misconduct has occurred in Australian private prisons. Serco is one of the companies that has private prisons in Australia. In a Serco-run prison, two officers were suspended as they were found SMUGGLING DRUGS inside the prisons. Here is how the report goes, “investigation was focusing on improper associations between custodial officers and prisoners, and the facilitation of drugs andcontraband into WA prisons.” There is enough evidence that even though the PRO claims that Australia has perfectly-run and regulated private prison, no country in the world has perfectly regulated private prisons because as I have said before, they are idealistic, and private prisons can never be perfect, at least not as long as they remain secretive and compromise everyone just for small amounts of bonus.

My opponent also says that I have not addressed the issue of overcrowding, and dealing with overcrowding is one of the main arguments made by the PRO. They believe that private prisons solve overcrowding. But in reality, numerous of the private prisons FACE overcrowding themselves. And since my opponent considers the Australian private prisons to be exemplary, let me give an example of an Australian private prisons. Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre in Brisbane's southeast went into lockdown because of overcrowding, drug smuggling, and prisoner violence. A correctional officer from the facility gave a statement, “currently housed around 1200 inmates, despite having a single bed capacity for 890 men with a maximum-security wing for up to 18 inmates.”So, this so-called ‘High-Security’ prison compromises in their own security by housing 310 additional inmates than their capacity. Now the question arises, why? They do this because as I have mentioned before, the sole aim of private corporations and for-profit prisons is profit. And the greater number of inmates that a facility houses, the more the profit. So, private prisons are ready to compromise the lives of their officers and the citizens just for profit.

My opponent has also said that private prisons are ‘cheaper’. Could this get any more absurd than this? I have clearly mentioned time and time again private prisons are ready to do anything for profit. As I have already discussed in my previous speeches, private prisons tend to SELECT prisoners which they can benefit from. This means that private prisons choose younger and healthier inmates to reduce their housing costs. They are even ready to cut-off on medical care of the inmates and to house them in atrocious and inadequate levels of housing. So, it is clearly evident that since the private prisons don’t care about the living conditions of their prisoners, the housing costs will be curtailed.

There is also one another issue that has time and time again weighed down the PRO, transparency. My opponent’s main argument is that the key to the success of private prisons is regulation. PRO has argued for everything with only one thing, regulation. But they don’t understand one thing private prisons don’t NEED to report to the government and no amount of regulation can change that. As I have already said in my second argument, private prisons aren’t forced to submit to the Freedom of Information Act, thus they can remain enshrouded with secrecy. And it is evident from my examples mentioned above that private prisons can go to any length to make sure that no penalties are charged. If there is a riot or death of an inmate in a private prison, the outside world may not even know about it.

I have discussed numerous aspects of how private prisons are atrocious and should be ended. They are:

  • No incentive to rehabilitate

  • Cut back on staff-training and equipment

  • Pay their employees meagerly

  • Extend the sentences of inmates to earn more profit

  • Their savings are negligible

  • Save money on inmate healthcare

  • Provide pitiable housing conditions

  • Remain enshrouded with secrecy

  • Aren’t forced to submit information to the government

  • Have fewer regulating mechanisms

  • Face overcrowding, drug smuggling, and inmate assaults at a higher rate than state-run prisons


The PRO has mentioned many aspects related to why private prisons are desirable. Though after doing profound research I have disproved every single claim made by the even though they haven’t been able to disprove a single one of my claims. I would also like to mention that in 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice ultimately ended their collaboration with the private prisons because, “they found that for-profit prisons provided fewer services, had higher safety risks, and had higher security risks without producing a substantial level of savings.” The PRO doesn’t understand that they are fighting a battle which has already been fought and won by my faction. The very system of private prisons is rotten to its core. And of not exterminated, it could well lead to disaster of inmates running free on the streets because who knows what the private corporations might do to obtain profits.



Return To Top | Posted:
2020-05-27 13:34:33
You need to be logged in to be able to comment
I am the absolute worst person. I did it again. I'm so sorry about my sources. If this was a limited character debate, I would forfeit, but since it isn't, I'm going to put them in the comments again. I'm so sorry. I just get lost in the argumentation and I forgot again.
Posted 2020-05-22 19:33:52
no problem
Posted 2020-05-17 07:16:27
I forgot to post my sources. I'll do it in the comments since there is no limit on characters, and it won't happen again. I'm sorry.
Posted 2020-05-16 21:25:51

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