Do private prisons chase escaped inmates?

PolitiFact rules “Half True”:

Private prison vendors say they have the authority to chase escaped prisoners beyond their property lines. Without getting into detailed security procedures, they say they have the same authority as public corrections officials. We’ve seen nothing to contradict those statements, but we’ve also seen nothing that strongly supports them, thanks to public records exemptions on their security plans.

Even if they can pursue past their property lines, does that mean they will? The vendors say part of their escape plan is to immediately notify local authorities. The authorities we consulted said they would definitely take the lead if a prisoner went off campus, but they added that would be the case for a state-run facility, too.

That brings us to the final part of the claim: This chase policy will result in “more escaped prisoners in our communities.” While there are definitely horror stories resulting from inmate escapes, we don’t see the evidence that there are more escapes from private prisons. We would consider this point speculative.

The email said, “Private prisons do not chase escaped inmates past the perimeter like the public prisons do, which means more escaped prisoners in our communities.”  We rate this claim Half True.



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