Here's an interesting article:
Basically, this corporation, Corrections Corporation of America, has offered to buy states' prisons, in exchange for a 20 year management contract, plus an assurance that the prison would remain at least 90 percent full.
So, what happens if crime goes down? What happens if prosecutors aren't getting those convictions and are pleading people out to non-incarceratory sentences? What about "alternative-to-incarceration" programs? Would the pressure be on judges to look for excuses to violate people on probation or in programs to keep the jails full?
There are other concerns pointed out in the article, including the fact that the plan doesn't necessarily save the states any money, but I have a really hard time with the idea that we, as a society, want to keep our prisons full. Shouldn't the goal of law enforcement and the court system be a decrease in crime, however utopian that may seem?