To the Editor:

We are told the answer to wasteful government spending is to outsource government functions to private businesses. There are two ways a company can save money over what government spends. One way is to reduce what is paid employees and suppliers. The second way is to cut back on the amount or quality of the service the company is taking over.

Prison-for-profit companies worked with ALEC, a corporate/right-wing lobbying group, to introduce model legislation to push the ‘three strikes’ and "truth in sentencing". The move away from government-controlled prisons greatly increased the number prisoners and the amount of time they serve. These companies want profits, so rehabilitation becomes a cost. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has investments in six private, for-profit prisons in Arizona.

Unfortunately for taxpayers, the promised cost savings of privatization often fail to materialize. There are many stories of corruption, incompetence, and general scamming by companies interested only in profit. A lack of government oversight of contractors has caused problems for Hurricane Sandy victims and millions in wasted tax dollars in New Jersey. This is the result of lack of Congressional support for oversight inspectors.

Julie Stewart Ziesman