Today, LD 1095, a bill that would allow a privately run prison in Maine, was unanimously killed in committee.  This is very good news for three reasons:

  1. Private prisons need high incarceration rates to make money.  Quite simply, the more Draconian the sentencing, the better for business.  So while mandatory sentencing and three strikes laws keep the prison full to capacity, they do little to make our society safer.
  2. Private prisons cost just as much.  Private prisons like to tout big cost savings to states looking to balance budgets.  The savings are illusory.
  3. We get less.  Conditions in private prisons are generally worse.  Care is substandard.  Prison staff are paid less and less well trained.  Violence levels are higher.
Our elected officials in Augusta deserve a pat on the back for rejecting a bill that would be very detrimental to Maine.