Last updated on: 11/3/2023 | Author:

Should the Use of Private Prisons Continue?

Prison privatization generally operates in one of three ways: 1. Private companies provide services to a government-owned and managed prison, such as building maintenance, food supplies, or vocational training; 2. Private companies manage government-owned facilities; or 3. Private companies own and operate the prisons and charge the government to house inmates. For more on private prisons, explore the ProCon debate.

PRO (yes)


Ron DeSantis:

Editors’ Note: DeSantis vetoed two prison funding items in Florida’s 2022-2023 fiscal year budget. He did not veto the private prison funding in the budget.


Source for Editors’ Note: Renzo Downey, “Veto List: Gov. DeSantis Detains $840M in Prison Construction,”, June 2, 2022


Donald Trump:

Editors’ Note: The Trump administration more than doubled the Obama administration’s spending on private prisons, largely for immigrant detention, according to a Newsweek analysis of government data.


Source for Editors’ Note: Chantal Da Silva, “Trump Administration Has Doubled Private Prison Spending With Most Money Spent on Detaining Immigrants: ‘They Are Not a Threat to Public Safety,’ Advocates Say,”, Sep. 25, 2019

CON (no)


Joe Biden:

“The federal government should not use private facilities for any detention, including detention of undocumented immigrants.”

Editors’ Note: Biden signed an executive order on Jan. 21, 2021, which states: “The Attorney General shall not renew Department of Justice contracts with privately operated criminal detention facilities.”


Lauren-Brooke Eisen, “Breaking Down Biden’s Order to Eliminate DOJ Private Prison Contracts,”, Aug. 27, 2021
Source for Editors’ Note: White House, “Executive Order on Reforming Our Incarceration System to Eliminate the Use of Privately Operated Criminal Detention Facilities,”, Jan. 21, 2021

Not Clear or Not Found

Doug Burgum:

Editors’ Note: North Dakota has not contracted with private prisons since before Burgum became governor.


Source for Editors’ Note: North Dakota Corrections and Rehabilitation, “Adult Facilities,” (accessed Nov. 3, 2023)

Chris Christie:

“Look at what we’ve done in New Jersey, it’s the same thing we would do there. The prison population has gone down and that means everybody wins. Public or private prisons, our population has gone down 31% total in the 5 ½ years that I’ve been governor. It’s the same kinda thing in the United States. We incarcerate too many people.”


American Friends Service Committee Iowa, “People Over Private Prison Lobbyists, Says Gov. Chris Christie,”, Aug. 25, 2015

Nikki Haley:

No position found as of Oct. 31, 2023.

Vivek Ramaswamy:

“Rule #1 of stakeholder capitalism: the more ruthless your business practices, the more you must issue progressive declarations. Meet the for-profit prison company who pats itself on the back for its ‘racial equity’ audits.”

Editors’ Note: Ramaswamy was replying to a tweet about Core Civic, a private prison company.


Vivek Ramaswamy,, June 27, 2022

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr:

No position found as of Oct. 31, 2023.