Justice Department Announces Federal Government Will Stop Using Private Prisons

prisonOn the heels of a scathing report about the use of private “contract prisons” in the federal prison system, the Department of Justice has announced that over the next five years, they will not renew the contracts of the 13 private prisons currently being used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and will not begin any new contracts. The announcement came in the form of a memo reported by The Washington Post:

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.

…“The fact of the matter is that private prisons don’t compare favorably to Bureau of Prisons facilities in terms of safety or security or services, and now with the decline in the federal prison population, we have both the opportunity and the responsibility to do something about that,” Yates said in an interview.

Private prisons have been an issue in the current presidential election, with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton vowing to end prison privatization, even as she has sought to distance herself from political donors in the for-profit prison business. Republican nominee Donald Trump is a supporter of private prisons.

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