Before any unit of government contemplates legislation authorizing the contracting-out of jail operations, it must be recognized that there are groups which strongly object to such activity.

Privatization of secure corrections facilities began to accelerate in 1984 with the construction and contract-operation of the large INS facility by Corrections Corporation of America and with CCA's management contract with Hamilton County, Tennessee, for a large secure-facility jail. In its report of these activities in July, 1984. U.S. News & World Report, noted that a survey by the National Institute of Corrections found that 75 percent of state corrections directors would not consider contracting out an entire prison to private firms. Some officials indicated concern about being held legally liable if contract guards mistreated inmates. Others were doubtful that private sector firms could actually deliver the services at the costs they quoted. Public employee unions objected on the grounds that private firms would hire unqualified guards at less money than the low pay many prison guards already earned. Other critics argued that it would not be moral for private, for-profit, firms to hold people behind bars for profit. Only government, they contended, should have the power to limit people's freedom. [52]

As Michigan contemplates legislation permitting local governments to explore privatization of minimum and/or medium security corrections facilities, the objections offered by the Michigan Sheriffs' Association have to be considered. Generally these objections can be found in a study done for MSA by Public Sector Consultants, Inc., (hereafter referred to as PSC) of Lansing, Michigan, and drafted in June, 1983. [53] Although there is nothing really new in the objections offered – they are, in fact the standard objections offered by the National Sheriffs' Association – they deserve to be considered by anyone who wants to be better informed on the issue. In what follows I propose to list these objections and attempt to counter the arguments offered in opposition to privatization of corrections facilities.