Duke University has been regarded as one of the nation's finest institutions of higher education for quite awhile. While the General didn't take the time to look at U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings of the Best Colleges in America in this year's survey, last year's survey (in the 8/31/98 issue) indicates (Page 84) that Duke tied for 6th place with the likes of U. of Pennsylvania and Cal Tech. Only Harvard, Princeton, Yale, MIT, Stanford, and Cornell were ranked ahead of Duke among National Universities. Impressive company.
Now we see that one of the editors of the university's newspaper (The Chronical) writes, in an editorial piece,
<< prisoners should not be simply biding there time,>>.
Well, holy jumpin' geehossifat. Here the General thought Duke had a scholastically sharp student body (perhaps, with the exception of those "tech" majors who, "six munths ago coont spel injunear") and now THIS.
The General wouldn't be so critical and condemning of the entire Duke University faculty and administration if one of THEIR students hadn't committed this foul deed.
The Chronicle is and has been a joke. It attracts workaholics and those who want to get their names in print, but is a student-run paper without backing by faculty who would raise the standards to anything worth reading. The Chronicle has published all sorts of worthless slag, and when confronted with the fact of its factual misrepresentations has lacked the decency even to publish retractions. While the occasional exception to the Chronicle's usual "talent" does occasionally appear and make a bright spot for the student body by providing a truly high quality piece from time to time, this is not the norm. I am unaware of any structural changes within the structure of the institution which would tend to improve the quality of the publication. It's "arch-rival" -- an archconservative, unofficial campus rag -- is vastly more literate than The Chronicle, even though it advocates positions which are occasionally downright outlandish. But at least it tries to think when it editorializes, and works hard not to lie directly. Kindly do not look to The Chronicle to reflect the quality of the student body generally. It isn't a selective institution, and attracts more than its share of wannabes. --Tex. PS. I think prisoners shouldn't just be biding their time, either. I think they should be working their asses off to repay their debt to society. I met a guy who did 10 years in TDC for pot, and spent it picking cotton. No joke. Now, there's a man who gained some respect for the law. Not that it made him LIKE the law, but he RESPECTS it. I'd have to read the rest of the Chronicle editorial to see if it is the same caliber of hogwash which stopped me from reading the fool thing when I was a student.
Your research continues to fascinate me. We can count on you to share with us any negative article regarding CCA/PZN or privatization. Of course, we can find it from other sources, too, such as the AFSCME site or CUSA.
The North Carolina piece was particularly interesting. The writer seems totally out of touch with the corrections climate. Rightly or wrongly, the pendulum has swung away from rehabilitation to warehousing. Society has said get the criminals off the streets, lock 'em up, take away their privileges and don't parole 'em. Hence, privatization, as there weren't and aren't enough beds to hold everyone that "we" want to lock up.
The states get what they pay for, and they know what they pay for. If CCA's management is deficient, the answer is simple - don't renew their contract. Contract renewal is the most powerful incentive to a private company, and I trust CCA is responsive.
What you, and other critics, keep forgetting is that the private facilities are typically new, with new staff. I doubt if their start-up experiences are any worse than newly opened public facilities.
This anti-privatization stuff really gets me going. Perhaps you're right, private companies can't be trusted with holding criminals. Nor, perhaps, should they be trusted with flying airplanes, building roads, making drugs, running universities, processing foods or arming the military.
Many of these industries could take a lesson from our public school system. It has flourished so well under government direction, particularly since the teachers unionized.