The Justice Department announced that it will stop contracting private prisons, after damaging reports surfaced which revealed the facilities are both less safe and generally more ineffective at providing correctional services compared to their government-run counterparts.
Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates made the announcement in a memo last Thursday, which outlined the goal of “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 further explained.
This decision comes on the heels of the release of a 35,000 word expose written about the private prison system published by Mother Jones, after a writer/reporter went undercover as a private prison guard and found huge deficiencies in the running of the private prison.
About 12 percent of the Bureau of Prisons total inmate population– 22,660 federal inmates — were housed in private prisons, according to a report from 2015. The private prison system was essentially created after the explosion of the prison population, in the past decade or so, spurred by laws that imposed strict sentencing for certain crimes and limited chances of parole or probation.
It should also be noted that Black inmates make up about 37.7% of the entire prison population and 60% of the male inmates in prison are Black men, so this will potentially have a large impact not only on the how prison system interacts with Black people but also how the justice system doe sas well. The “for profit”, private prison system has long been known to directly benefit from high incarceration rates.
According to the ACLU: “Leading private prison companies essentially admit that their business model depends on high rates of incarceration. For example, in a 2010 Annual Report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the largest private prison company, stated: “The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by . . . leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices . . . .””
The “for profit” prison model has sullied America’s image, making the “land of the free”, the country with the highest incarceration rate in the world. With the Department of Justice’s announcement to stop using private prisons, Will this injustice finally come to an end?