On a 13-11 vote, the New Hampshire Senate has blocked a House-backed measure to prohibit private prisons in the state.
Senate Republicans killed the prohibition effort, saying that the legislature needs to be able to keep all options on the table. Senator Andy Sanborn told colleagues that private prisons can be more efficient, lowering overall corrections costs.
"I believe we have an obligation to prove to the tax payers of New Hampshire, every day, that we are trying to spend their money wisely."
But Senator David Pierce, a Democrat from Etna, says privatization turns inmates into commodities.
"To delegate that power, and that authority, to entities whose success depends on how much profit they can exploit from each human being, invites abuse, it abdicates our responsibility to our prison population for their rehabilitation, and our commitment to restorative justice."
Last month, the state rejected four companies’ proposals to take over New Hampshire prisons. State officials said the bids lacked proof that the firms could meet requirements for inmate medical care.