BREAKING: Justice Department Breaks Ties with Private Prisons

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Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced late Thursday morning that the United States Justice Department has plans to ultimately end their use of private prisons.

The DOJ will phase out its contracts with private prison companies by either not renewing them or “substantially reducing” their scope with the goal of “ultimately ending” their use of them altogether.

Says Yates:

“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.”

The announcement from the Justice Department is in part due to the Inspector General report released last week. Overall the report states that privately-run facilities are subpar to their government-run counterparts. The report shows that the Inspector General’s office evaluated prisons on eight different categories. Private facilities underperformed government-run prisons in six of the eight, some of which were:

Contraband: Private prisons “confiscated eight times as many contraband cell phones annually on average as the BOP institutions,” and they “had nearly twice as many weapons confiscated as BOP institutions (3.2 compared to 1.8) monthly.”

Inmate-on-inmate Assaults: Private facilities had “3.3 assaults monthly, on average, compared to 2.5 on average” in government-run institutions.

Inmate-on-Staff Assaults: “Contract prisons reported well more than twice as many such incidents each month on average as compared to” government-run institutions. “4.2 assaults monthly, on average, int eh contract prisons versus 1.6” in the government-run institutions.

Lockdowns: Private prisons had “30 partial lockdowns and 71 full lockdowns, while the BOP institutions reported no partial lockdowns and 11 full lockdowns, meaning that these security measures occurred more than 9 times as often at contract prisons.”

Serious Disciplinary Violations: “Contract prisons had a higher number of guilty findings on these types of serious offense charges. The contract prisons had 77.9 guilty findings monthly on average (10,089 over 4 years), compared to 64.7 in the BOP institutions (7,439 over 4 years).”

We must keep in mind, however, that not all federal private prisons are run by the Department of Justice. The private prison industry does the bulk of their business with the Department of Homeland Security, who uses them to hold immigrants. The Department of Justice’s decision to move away from private prisons will not affect how much the Department of Homeland Security uses them.

Regardless, in response to the news of the Department of Justice dropping private prisons, two companies named in the Inspector General report saw massive stock drops directly following the announcement:

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Alexandra Jacobo is a dedicated progressive writer, activist, and mother with a deep-rooted passion for social justice and political engagement. Her journey into political activism began in 2011 at Zuccotti Park, where she supported the Occupy movement by distributing blankets to occupiers, marking the start of her earnest commitment to progressive causes. Driven by a desire to educate and inspire, Alexandra focuses her writing on a range of progressive issues, aiming to foster positive change both domestically and internationally. Her work is characterized by a strong commitment to community empowerment and a belief in the power of informed public action. As a mother, Alexandra brings a unique and personal perspective to her activism, understanding the importance of shaping a better world for future generations. Her writing not only highlights the challenges we face but also champions the potential for collective action to create a more equitable and sustainable world.

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