The author suggests that only true innovation will fundamentally improve our system of incarceration of the prison population. Because innovators are not found in government, but in business, it is time to get the government out of the prison business. Government can give us bigger, newer prisons but not better prisons, more effective programs, or better personnel without various incentives, which they lack. If the operation of our prisons were contracted out, private enterprise could step in. The successful bidder could be responsible for secure housing, feeding, medical care, and job training of the prison population. State officials would retain authority for decisions about changes in custody level or time of release for individual offenders. Private prison managers would be free to innovate, to use the latest technology and management techniques as in any profit-motivated service industry. Published in the May 11 editorial pages of the [Los] [Angeles Times].
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