New Hampshire's prisons are crowded, say corrections officials. Private prisons provide the state with one option for housing more inmates at a lower cost.
Also, if a New Hampshire prison burns or otherwise has to be evacuated suddenly, private prisons are there to take our inmates in an emergency, Corrections Commissioner William Wrenn says.
At a legislative hearing last week, Wrenn testified against Robertson's House Bill 443, which would ban private prisons in New Hampshire. Wrenn is no booster of the private prison industry. He just understands what some legislators do not: that contracting with private businesses can, at least in some cases, provide the Department of Corrections a cost-effective way to provide its public service.
Privatization might not be right for most of New Hampshire's prisons. But the option should be generally available. An outright ban on private prisons would be irrational, reactionary and irresponsible.