The above link exposes a very troubling practice of government officials giving up citizens’ due process rights to private contractors for probation services. This link is to part one, but also watch part two. That segment exposes one of these private companies that is actually operating in Oregon, Sentinel*.
This story illustrates another problem with privatization, the bigger cost. Because we want to view things that government does in relation to just the financial expenditures, we look to privatization to save on government spending but at what real cost?
We do not want to even consider the public benefit or detriment of these practices. We are so short sighted that we think that getting rid of all government functions has only benefits. Our self-absorbed society only looks at how it might save them a few bucks on taxes. They only see the financial cost to run various programs and are blind to the social cost that saving a few bucks has. We all have more to lose than what little money any one of us would save in taxes.
Government just needs to be doing certain things in order to make sure our rights are honored and that reasonable public policy is not replaced by a profit margin. This is one of those things.
This can happen to you. How many out there could afford a $1000 fine without making payments? It is the need to make payments that put these folks in such a bind. In order to get a payment arrangement, they want to charge more money for the trouble and cost associated with their operation. This would not be required if this payment arrangement was just done by public employees. Yes it cost money to hire people and pay for other costs to do this service, but sometimes that is just the cost of doing the publics’ business.
The profit in public service is the benefit we get as a society, not the money we can save or make.
*Link to Sentinel: http://www.sentrak.com/faqs/
It does not seem to be in Douglas County, but it is providing these services up in Multnomah County.