Letter to the editor | Privatization proves costly

March 27, 2014 

On Tuesday, the CDT ran an opinion piece with the headline “Corrections facility a boon to economy,” in which U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson heralded the Moshannon Valley Correctional Institution as an “economic driver” with “unique benefits to the community, commonwealth and region.”

If he and the rest of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation are successful in keeping the federal contract in Pennsylvania, the GEO Group Inc., which operates the facility, has said it would “lead a $10 million expansion, creating upwards of 50 construction jobs and 24 new, full-time positions.”

The privatization of the correctional system in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the United States has not led to savings for taxpayers as we were to believe.

Instead, the cost of incarceration continues to rise and potential for profit provides motivation to fill our prisons disproportionately with the poor and disadvantaged, as if they were hotels, ultimately leading to abuses such as the Kids for Cash scandal in Luzerne County.

As citizens, let alone taxpayers, we should be lamenting the expansion of prisons.

In May we have a chance to vote for a renovation of the State College Area High School. Oh that some congressman or school board member would come out and say a $100 million project would generate 500 construction and new family-sustaining jobs.

But I doubt that will happen, even in a town with an economy based on education.

Greg Ziegler

College Township

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