The conservative approach to criminal justice:
fighting crime, supporting victims, and protecting taxpayers.

a project of the texas public policy foundation, in partnership with the AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE UNION FOUNDATION and JUSTICE FELLOWSHIP

Could Privatizing Michigan Prisons Light a Competitive Spark Throughout the Entire State?

| November 1, 2010

This testimony from Jack McHugh of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a few years old, but it is worth reading.

McHugh’s testimony is about private prisons, and the cost savings they can create throughout Michigan.  He makes this particularly bold suggestion: “While there is ample evidence that individual private prisons have lower costs in ‘apples-to-apples’ comparisons, their very existence in a state lowers costs throughout the entire system, as public and private facilities ‘sharpen their pencils’ under the pressure of competition.”

McHugh is arguing, in essence, that privatizing some prisons (or at least some prison functions) could spark a wave of competitiveness throughout all Michigan state agencies.  That is a possibility worth exploring.


VIBRANT P. REDDY is Senior Fellow for criminal justice issues at the Charles Koch Institute. Previously, Reddy was the Senior Policy Analyst for both Right on Crime and the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Effective Justice. He has authored several reports on criminal justice policy and is a frequent speaker and media commentator on the topic. Reddy has worked as a research assistant at The Cato Institute, as a law clerk to the Honorable Gina M. Benavides of the Thirteenth Court of Appeals of Texas, and as an attorney in private practice, focusing on trial and appellate litigation. Reddy graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Plan II Honors, Economics, and History, and he earned his law degree at the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in Dallas. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas and of the State Bar’s Appellate Section and Criminal Justice Section.