Justice Department Moves to End Private Prisons

The move to defund or cancel contract renewals mean there's more work to be done

Tamika Morrison
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Tamika Morrison

Editorial Director at RYSE INTERACTIVE
Lover of #Archetypes. #PRTherapist #Editor @RYSEConnected. #WanderlustDiaries Author of #1stLadyRules + Founder of @TMORRISONAGENCY #Closer2MyDreams #Part2
Tamika Morrison
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It was announced that the Justice Department plans to end its use of private prisons after officials concluded the facilities are both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government.

 

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced the decision on Thursday in a memo that instructs officials to either decline to renew the contracts for private prison operators when they expire or “substantially reduce” the contracts’ scope. The goal, Yates wrote, is “reducing — and ultimately ending — our use of privately operated prisons.”

 

“They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security,” Yates wrote.

 

Note that privately run federal prisons house only a fraction of the overall population of inmates. The vast majority of the incarcerated in America are in state prisons — rather than federal ones — and Yates’ memo does not apply to any of those, even the ones that are privately run. It also does not apply to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Marshals Service detainees, who are technically in the federal system but not under the purview of the federal Bureau of Prisons. Though it seems to expose a larger issue, it sets a high precedence.

 

Ultimately, the directive is limited to 13 privately run facilities, housing a little more than 22,000 inmates, in the federal Bureau of Prisons system. The facilities were meant mainly to house inmates who are mostly low security, “criminal alien” men with 90 months or less time remaining on their sentences, according to a recent Department of Justice Inspector General report. Yates said the Justice Department would review the contracts for those facilities as they come up for renewal, as all will do in the next five years. She said they would then be reduced or allowed to expire, though none would be terminated prematurely.

 

 

Senator Bernie Sanders made the following statement on his Facebook page:

The DOJ’s plan to end its use of private prisons is an important step in the right direction. It’s exactly what our movement has fought for. Private prisons are not cheaper, they are not safer, and they do not provide better outcomes for either the prisoners or the state.

 

Still, the memo could spark broader change in the prison system.

 

You can read the rest via The Washington Post.

 



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