As I wrote in the comment thread on another post:
No. What is a "private prison", anyway? A private individual or group keeping someone locked up? By what authority? What if the prisoner's friends and relatives decide that he was unjustly imprisoned? To whom do they appeal? Or do they just try to break him out? And so on.
Do you see where this is going, where it has to go? Any type of "private" government—police, jails, armies—leads to fighting and warfare at some level. The whole purpose of government is to stop such fighting. But to do that, government has to have exclusive power to make and enforce laws in a region.
Later I clarified:
Government can contract out some services to the private sector. For example, they could contract out the building of a prison to a construction company—I don't see any problem with that. Would they contract out staffing it to a private security firm? That doesn't make sense to me... but I'm not an expert on penitentiary administration. At this point I think we're talking about details of administration, not political philosophy.
Oct 27 '10 at 02:25