Little is known about the resources available to protect inmates’ health in private prisons compared to their public counterparts. This is the first national-level study that exclusively examined the availability of health-related programs in private and public prisons in the United States. We applied propensity score weighting and doubly robust estimation to compare private prisons to comparable public prisons. Data were self-reported by prison administrators as part of the 2005 Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities. We found that private prisons offered fewer substance dependency, psychological/psychiatric, and HIV/AIDS-related programs. But the differences were progressively reduced when the comparison was limited to public prisons most similar on a variety of facility-level characteristics. The extent to which the two types of prisons differ is closely tied to the characteristics of the facilities that are compared.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Community and Home Care
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- prison health care
- private prisons
- psychological problems
- substance use