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The Moral Cost of Privatizing Justice


With 2.2 million people housed in prisons and jails across the nation, the United States is the world leader in incarceration. Harsher laws and longer sentences have led to a dramatic spike in incarceration rates over the past 30 years, resulting in over-crowding and economic burden.

The response to this problem has been the emergence of government-contracted for-profit prison companies. But what began as a free-market solution to the prison crisis, the privatization of incarceration has raised urgent moral questions about how justice is carried out in the United States.

Next week, Fordham University’s Center for Ethics Education will host a conference discussing the reality and implications of privatizing the justice system.

“Jailing for Dollars: The Moral Costs of Privatizing Justice”
Tuesday, April 23
6 p.m.
McNally Amphitheatre | Lincoln Center Campus | 140 W. 62nd St.

The interdisciplinary conference will feature presentations from well-known public figures, policy-makers, scholars, religious leaders, and criminal justice professionals, including:

  • Cindy Chang, staff writer for Los Angeles Times;
  • Scott Cohn, senior correspondent for NBC News;
  • Thomas Giovanni, counsel to the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice;
  • Judith Greene, criminal justice policy expert at Justice Strategies; and
  • Michael Jacobson, Ph.D., president and director of the Vera Institute of Justice.

Participants will explore the ethical implications of jailing for profit, such as whether public-private prison contracts that incentivize higher incarceration rates affect police and judicial actions, and whether the money-saving practices justify overcrowding and unsafe and demoralizing conditions for inmates and prison staff.

Advanced registration is preferred. To register, visit the conference website here.

Follow @fordhamnotes on Twitter for live updates of the event at #Jailing4Dollars.


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