Over the past 20 years, The Council of State Governments (CSG) has published a number of reports and policy briefs on state government privatization trends. The last report, Privatization in State Government: Trends and Issues, was published in 2003 and authored by the late Dr. Keon Chi. The straightforward and nonpartisan research presented in that report has been invaluable to policymakers and researchers over the last decade and is often cited in contemporary publications.

CSG is now in the process of updating its research on state privatization trends and needs your help. If you are interested in contributing to our survey and research, please contact Kimberly Mills at or (859) 244-8255. 

Last week, the Department of Justice announced it would be seeking to reduce and eventually end the practice of using privately operated prisons.  In a memo to the Bureau of Federal Prisons, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates explains that about a decade ago, the Bureau began contracting with privately operated correctional institutions to handle a fast increasing federal prison population. Now, however, the prison population has started to decline.

Tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Sherrif v. Gillie.

Per the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) debt collectors may not make false, deceptive, or misleading representations. FDCPA targets independent debt collectors who lack incentives to act fairly because they “are likely to have no future contact with the consumer and often are unconcerned with the consumer’s opinion of them.”

The definition of debt collectors excludes “officers” of the State.

Privatization continues to be a controversial management issue in state governments. In the past five years, 1997-2002, the extent of privatization activities in the states has largely remained the same as in the previous five years or slightly increased. The main reasons for privatization are a lack of personnel or expertise and cost savings. In most cases, privatized services account for less than 5 percent of agency services, while reported costs savings range from none to less than 5 percent. But many state agency directors surveyed seem to have no clear ideas as to how much has been actually saved from privatization. Nevertheless, privatization is likely to continue in the states in the next few years as in the past decade.