Former Phila Prison Commisser: Privatizing prisons not always the best solution

    Camden County may be considering privatizing a county jail in downtown Camden. Officials say they need to find a way to deal with overcrowding, but the idea has its critics, including a former Philadelphia Prison Commissioner.

    Camden County may be considering privatizing a county jail in downtown Camden. Officials say they need to find a way to deal with overcrowding, but the idea has its critics, including a former Philadelphia Prison Commissioner.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090602lfjail.mp3]

    As Philadelphia Prison Commissioner from 2002 to 2008, Leon King oversaw a handful of hybrid prison facilities. They were staffed by city workers but private companies provided other services like maintenance.

    King says the possible Camden County privatization could save the county money because private companies pay workers less. But he says there are downsides.

    King: Private folks while they’re all very professional and what not, they’re out to make money. So their goal is to have more prisoners, and more prisoners, and more prisoners.

    King says instead of privatization, officials should try to reduce their prison population and close facilities.

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