I know Dr. Thomas. He seems like a pleasant individual, but his views are definitely biased. That is not his fault. He profits from the proliferation of privatization. In that battle, there are different stakeholders. He should have no problem stepping away from his shield of public employment. As a public employee, he must remain impartial and not have certain contractual relationships with private interests. That rule doesn�t only apply to Thomas. Taxpayers shouldn�t be subsidizing profiteers that are operating under the guise of not-for-profit employment status.
You have recently posted regarding two issues (one germane to PZN, one not)in stark shades of black and white. Unfortunately, things are not quite so simple, and you need to let a little gray or some gentle pastels into your thinking.
Regarding the effect of escapes, nic is closer to fact than you. Putting all escapes into the category of Youngstown is a big mistake. From my remote vantage point, it appears that CCA was in over its head with Youngstown, or at best severly snake-bitten. Every successful business screws up at least once (remember GE and diamonds?). Yes, Youngstown affected the stock price and it should have, because there was financial consequence. There is no evidence that other incidents did. If in total these incidents indicate pervasive mismanagement, PZN will be further punished - first by the contracting agencies, then by the stock market. I don't believe it has reached that point. Again, avoiding such consequences is an incentive that public sector operators don't face.
Issue 2 is Charlie Thomas. He championed privatization long before he received any money from the private sector. He became "the" expert - so much so that analysts still trusted his research even when told of his private compensation, which he received because of that experise and his bias toward privatization. I don't believe he's ever been in a position, while compensated by PZN, to award them a contract, if ever. And, in fact, is he any less conflicted than a government employee involved in awarding contracts to private entities or monitoring them who is paid by the state with which PZN supposedly competes? Or how about Janet Reno, who issued the investigatory report on Youingstown - isn't her boss somewhat beholden to union lobbyists who fight privatization every step of the way?
Even WHC, which benefits from Charlie�s optimistic projections, did not supply him with statistics because they felt his numbers were skewed. The notes in his latest stats reflect this issue. Beyond that, the stats are definitely biased. Unfortunately, Charlie had the most comprehensive data set (biased or not). The Criminal Justice Institute just really started collecting stats on private prisons so Charlie was the only game in town. In general, there are problems with public and private facilities and the entire law enforcement and corrections system. Wall Street won�t penalize public prisons because of mismanagement, but privateers will be penalized because of occurrences like Youngstown. This is why CCA embarked upon a national media campaign. They realize these �horror� stories can drive them out of business. CCRI has practically been driven out of business because of the video-taped beating of inmates that was broadcast nationwide a couple of years ago. As far as public vs private accounting, I agree with the comments you guys have made.