Jena, La.: Where The Market Fails

Ah, privatization. How the invisible hand of competition can force efficiency on the laggard ways of government. Well, that was the way it was supposed to go for Louisiana's juvenile-prison system. But it didn't work out, and now even some Republicans, the champions of privatization, are backing away from the idea. "The profit motive works well in some places," says Republican Governor Mike Foster. "I don't think it works well in prisons."

The case of Jena helps explain why Foster has come to this conclusion. A month after the Justice Department sued Louisiana in 1998 for inadequate care of its jailed...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!