For decades the American corrections system has failed to provide adequate, much less successful rehabilitation to prison inmates. Paired with other factors contributing to crime, America has the unfortunate distinction of owning the world’s highest incarceration rate. Some prisons offer rehabilitation programs, many of which are very successful, but in an environment of fiscal austerity, they are often the first to be eliminated. Correctional industries are becoming more common in prisons due to their unique ability to be completely self-sufficient in requiring no government funding, as well as to provide meaningful rehabilitation that has a proven record of success. Private prisons have arisen as an alternative to relieve overcrowded public prisons. Some facilities are well managed and provide useful programs. Many private facilities, however, are purely profit-driven, and unless these facilities are held accountable to standards of financial transparency as well as meaningful rehabilitation, their numbers could grow malignantly and become nothing more than warehouses of captive labor for unscrupulous business ventures.
The quality of financial records is a topic of constant debate, even more so during times of recession. The United States faced a banking crisis in 2002, which rocked the very foundations of the business sector. Sarbanes-Oxley passed in response to the banking crisis, implementing a series of new standards applying to all U.S. public company executives, and firms as a whole. Consequences for fraudulent activity have evolved to be more severe, and external auditors have become more autonomous. This thesis analyzes the frequency of firms going-private in the United States. Going private transactions were collected from January 1, 2007 to February 5, 2014, in order to further investigate the behavior of the privatization trend in America. The study concluded that there was a decline in the overall number of firms going private, in addition to a change in the industries witnessing the highest frequency of privatization. Furthermore, the FEI surveys concluded that compliance costs have declined over the years following the passage of SOX. These declines support that SOX may no longer be driving firms to privatization as compliance no longer implies as significant of a financial burden.