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

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.


RIGHT ON CRIME is a national campaign to promote successful, conservative solutions on American criminal justice policy—reforming the system to ensure public safety, shrink government, and save taxpayers money. By sharing research and policy ideas and mobilizing strong conservative voices, we work to raise awareness of the growing support for effective reforms within the conservative movement. We are transforming the debate on criminal justice in America.