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U.S. Justice Department to end use of private prisons

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NEW YORK — The U.S. Department of Justice plans to stop using private prisons.

They are not as safe or as well run as government correctional facilities, the Justice Department concluded after an extensive review process.

Private prisons “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,” Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in a memo Thursday.

Effective immediately, the Justice Department will seek to reduce and “ultimately end” the use of privately operated prisons. Contracts with private prison operators are not being renewed or they are being scaled back dramatically.

In 2013, about 30,000 inmates — 15% of the federal prison population — were housed in private facilities, the Justice Department said. There has been a slight decline since then in both the overall population of federal inmates and those housed in private facilities

The stocks of two of the largest private prison operators fell dramatically after The Washington Post reported the news. Corrections Corporation of America lost half of its value Thursday, tanking almost 50%. Geo Group slumped 46%.

Still, this announcement only impacts 195,000 inmates out of America’s 2.2 million incarcerated adult prisoners. Most inmates are housed in state prisons or local jails that aren’t covered by the Justice Department’s directive.

“It’s definitely good step. It’s heading in the right direction, but it isn’t as extensive as the headlines make it sound,” says Ann Schwartzman, executive director of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, the oldest prison reform advocacy group in the world.

1 Comment

  • confused

    So although they are probably a tax saver to taxpayers and bring jobs to the area. . .you could make them more secure,hire more people. Fill them UP. In the new USA, well we just don’t have room in the overcrowded government prisons and the private ones are unsafe so NO more sentencing to prison. How does the justice system expect a downturn in crime when there are no penalties of serving time? You KNOW most never pay fines, or restitution because they are indigent (unless you count the drug, sex traffic, stolen goods $ and they don’t) so the law abiding working people just have to deal huh? Lock your windows at night, no more cool breezes. Go on errands, etc in a minimum of pairs so you are not an easy target . Metal detectors at schools, fairs, etc. Don’t get out of your car in an accident because it’s probably a bump n jack. But most of all, do NOT arm yourself, defend yourself with your fists, or a bat or whatever because YOU will be the one going to jail, name and family dragged thru the mud, labeled a racist,whatever the new pro crime group would call you. Because they are NOT criminals, they have issues, or of color, or too rich, or too poor. Any bets?

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