Senator Pierce Comments on the Defeat of Prohibiting Prison Privatization

CONCORD – Senator David Pierce (D-Etna) released the following comments on the Senate’s 13-11 vote to kill House Bill 443 which would have prohibited prison privatization in New Hampshire.

“I was disappointed the Senate failed to follow the House’s lead by passing a bill prohibiting prison privatization. We should not delegate the power and authority to entities whose success depends in how much profit they can exploit from a human being invites abuse. The state of New Hampshire should not abdicate our responsibility to our prison population for their rehabilitation and restorative justice to a for-profit entity.”

New Hampshire’s corrections and administrative service officials began investigating prison privatization in 2011 at the direction of the last Legislature. Four companies submitted 17 proposals that were so voluminous and complex that state officials hired a private consultant, at a cost of $171,000, to help them evaluate the bids. The state recently announced that it has stopped the bid process, because none of the four companies that wanted the job showed they could meet court-ordered requirements for inmate care.

“Allowing private companies to operate New Hampshire’s prisons as the track record of such arrangements in other states has not demonstrated success in terms of protecting taxpayer dollars while maintaining the highest level of public safety. And the lack of clear explanations in bids for how private operators would meet court orders governing corrections speaks to her concerns.”

If the Senate acted to ban prohibiting prison privatization, this issue could have been put to rest once and for all.

“It was my hope that New Hampshire will not be spending state dollars on considering this option anymore, recent reports of possible problems have taken privatization off the table, by the Senate could have voted to close the door.”