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Pennsylvania: Letter to the editor.
Letter to the Editor - Jail privatization doesn't pay

Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz takes control of the Tulsa Jail, years after he worked to have it built.

Companies run private prisons for a profit. They abandon the responsibility of public safety as well as that of the people who work there, and even those confined in them.
Private prisons have an overwhelming increase in riots, hostage situations, rapes of staff and inmates, drug traffic, inmate abuse, overcrowding, poor living conditions, assaults of prisoners and staff and inadequate medical treatment resulting in deaths.
The bottom line: saving a buck. That doesn't happen. There are many hidden costs because of these problems. Lawsuits levied against the companies that run these places ultimately fall back on local government because it can be held liable as a second party, and taxpayers foot the bill to settle the cases, plus the cost to defend and prosecute them.
How do these problems arise? Let's start with the people employed at private prisons. They are people with no law enforcement or correctional backgrounds. They put them through. a training period. Some say it's effective but it's not. It's all about money, not safety.
Correctional officers' complaints and concerns are about understaffing, low pay, and inadequate training. This is where costs are cut. Officers in private prisons receive 30 percent less training than and are paid about two-thirds less than officers in state and county facilities.
This results in a high employee turnover rate, leaving the facility with an inexperienced staff. How can underpaid, understaffed, inadequately trained officers control a prison? They can't.
Don't let the county lead you to believe this is a cost effective way to save money. Taxpayers should expect to see our local officials attract business into the area and promote growth and development creating a tax base.
How do you promote this by showing our youth, who you want to stay put and attend our local colleges that as an operating government we can't even keep our own county employees employed.
Thomas R. Trkulja
EDITOR'S NOTE: The writer is chief union steward for SEIU Local 668

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