Recently, the Register published an opinion piece by Austill Stuart, a policy analyst at the Reason Foundation, titled “Private prisons are helping California and can be used to reduce prison population” [Opinion, March 31].
As a national expert on the private prison industry who has testified before a congressional subcommittee — and as a former prisoner who served time in a private prison — Mr. Stuart’s position isn’t surprising.
While he is entitled to his opinion, those who read his comments in favor of for-profit prisons are entitled to know that his employer receives funding from private prison companies.
According to Reason Foundation annual donor lists, both CCA (now CoreCivic) and GEO Group are Gold or Platinum level funders.
When I mentioned this to the Register, I was informed “Our readers have a great deal of familiarity” with Reason, thus presumably such information wasn’t needed.
Rather than add a disclaimer to Mr. Stuart’s article, the Register invited me to submit this letter, limited to 200 words — which might not be seen by those who read the original article.
I expected better from the Register and Mr. Stuart, as readers have a right to be informed about potential biases of writers whose work appears in this paper.
— Alex Friedmann, associate director, Human Rights Defense Center, Antioch, Tenn.