Judicial Intervention into Prisons: Comparing Private and Public Prisons from 1990 to 2005 Public Deposited

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  • A mid-20th century prisoners' rights revolution gave American prisoners unprecedented access to courts for exercising newly elaborated constitutional rights. The result was a tide of litigation brought by inmates and subsequent remedial court orders requiring corrections officials to improve conditions of confinement. It was in this context of aggressive judicial intervention into prison operations that the private prison industry emerged. Some early proponents of prison privatization claimed that the private sector could provide superior prison conditions and thereby reduce judicial intervention. This paper assesses this claim empirically. It uses data on state and federal adult correctional facilities from the Bureau of Justice Statistics to compare the prevalence of reported court orders among public and private correctional facilities in the United States from 1990 through 2005. Results from a series of logistic regression analyses reveal that privatization has had little effect on the likelihood of judicial intervention into correctional facilities.
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  • Burkhardt, B., & Jones, A. (2015). Judicial Intervention into Prisons: Comparing Private and Public Prisons from 1990 to 2005. Justice System Journal, 37(1), 39-52. doi:10.1080/0098261X.2015.1062738
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  • 37
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  • 1
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Peer Reviewed



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