Read

Search form

The Justice Department Says it Will Stop Using Private Prisons

The Justice Department Says it Will Stop Using Private Prisons
Fri, 8/19/2016 - by Matt Zapotosky
This article originally appeared on The Washington Post

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.

The Justice Department’s inspector general last week released a critical report concluding that privately operated facilities incurred more safety and security incidents than those run by the federal Bureau of Prisons. The private facilities, for example, had higher rates of assaults — both by inmates on other inmates and by inmates on staff — and had eight times as many contraband cellphones confiscated each year on average, according to the report. Yates said there are 13 privately run facilities under the Bureau of Prisons purview.

Disturbances in the facilities, the report said, led in recent years to “extensive property damage, bodily injury, and the death of a Correctional Officer.” The report listed several examples of mayhem at private facilities, including a May 2012 riot at the Adams County Correctional Center in Mississippi in which 20 people were injured and a correctional officer killed. That incident, according to the report, involved 250 inmates who were upset about low-quality food and medical care.

“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.

The problems at private facilities were hardly a secret, and Yates said Justice Department and Bureau of Prisons officials had been talking for months about discontinuing their use. Mother Jones recently published a 35,000-word exposé detailing a reporter’s undercover work as a private prison guard in Louisiana — a piece that found serious deficiencies. The Nation magazine wrote earlier this year about deaths under questionable circumstances in privately operated facilities.

The privately run facilities will not close overnight. Yates said the Justice Department would not terminate existing contracts but instead review those that come up for renewal. She said all the contracts would come up for renewal over the next five years.

It is possible the directive could face resistance from those companies that will be affected. In response to the inspector general’s report, the contractors running the prisons noted that their inmate populations consist largely of noncitizens, presenting them with challenges that government-run facilities do not have.

Scott Marquardt, president of Management and Training Corporation, wrote that comparing Bureau of Prisons facilities to privately operated ones was “comparing apples and oranges.” He generally disputed the inspector general’s report.

“Any casual reader would come to the conclusion that contract prisons are not as safe as BOP prisons,” Marquardt wrote. “The conclusion is wrong and is not supported by the work done by the [Office of the Inspector General].”

Yates, though, noted that the Bureau of Prisons was “already taking steps” to make her order a reality. Three weeks ago, she wrote, the bureau declined to renew a contract for 1,200 beds at the Cibola County Correctional Center in New Mexico. According to a local TV station, the county sheriff said the facility’s closure would have a negative impact on the community.

Yates wrote that the bureau also would amend a solicitation for a 10,800-bed contract to one for a maximum 3,600-bed contract. That, Yates wrote, would allow the Bureau of Prisons over the next year to discontinue housing inmates in at least three private prisons, and by May 1, 2017, the total private prison population would stand at less than 14,200 inmates. She said it was “hard to know precisely” when all the privately run facilities would no longer have federal inmates, though she noted that 14,200 was less than half the inmates they held at their apex three years ago, a figure she said indicated the department was “well on our way to ultimately eliminating the use of private prisons entirely.”

“We have to be realistic about the time it will take, but that really depends on the continuing decline of the federal prison population, and that’s really hard to accurately predict,” Yates said.

According to the inspector general’s report, private prisons housed roughly 22,660 federal inmates as of December 2015. That represents about 12 percent of the Bureau of Prisons total inmate population, according to the report.

In her memo, Yates wrote that the Bureau of Prisons began contracting with privately run institutions about a decade ago in the wake of exploding prison populations, and by 2013, as the federal prison population reached its peak, nearly 30,000 inmates were housed in privately operated facilities. But in 2013, Yates wrote, the prison population began to decline because of efforts to adjust sentencing guidelines, sometimes retroactively, and to change the way low-level drug offenders are charged. She said the drop in federal inmates gave officials the opportunity to reevaluate the use of private prisons.

Yates wrote that private prisons “served an important role during a difficult time period,” but they had proven less effective than facilities run by the government. The contract prisons are operated by three private corporations, according to the inspector general’s report: Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group and Management and Training Corporation. The Bureau of Prisons spent $639 million on private prisons in fiscal year 2014, according to the report.

Yates said it was “really hard to determine whether private prisons are less expensive” and whether their closure would cause costs to go up, though she said officials did not anticipate having to hire additional Bureau of Prisons staff.

“Bottom line, I’d also say, you get what you pay for,” Yates said.

Originally published by The Washington Post

Comments

HOW I GET A LOAN HELP @ 2% INTEREST RATE

I was not sure of getting a legit loan lender online But when i could not face my Debt any more, my son was on hospital bed for surgery that involve huge money and i also needed some money to refinance and get a good home then i have to seeks for Assistance from friends and when there was no hope any more i decide to go online to seek a loan and i find VICTORIA LAWSON Trust Loan Firm (marianlawson@outlook.com) with 2% interest Rate and applied immediately with my details as directed. Within seven Days of my application She wired my loan amount with No hidden charges and i could take care of my son medical bills, Renew my rent bill and pay off my debt. I will advice every loan seeker to contact VICTORIA LAWSON LOAN Company with marianlawson@outlook.com For easy and safe transaction.

*Full Name:_________

*Address:_________

*Tell:_________

*loan amount:_________

*Loan duration:_________

*Country:_________

*Purpose of loan:_________

*Monthly Income:__________

*Occupation__________

*Next of kins :_________

*Email :_________

Sign Up

Article Tabs

"the world has been growing too fast for too long. And now...the Earth is full. The only solution, he says, is to radically change the way we consume."

rising U.K. poverty, U.K. housing costs, soaring rents, Universal Income, Brexit

Britain is experiencing a financial crisis on a level not seen since the 2008 credit crunch, with average household expenses now higher than average household income for the first time in 30 years.

free market orthodoxy, libertarianism, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, privatization, socialism, capitalism, deregulation, monopolies, rightwing economics, voodoo economics

Concentrated corporate power must be dismantled and democracy substituted for it – a global project that will take generations but is likely to develop momentum as society experiences ever-greater crises.

free market economics, libertarianism, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, privatization, socialism, capitalism, anarchism, communism

The spectacle of millions adhering to such a breathtakingly stupid ideology as libertarianism would be comical if it weren’t so tragic.

Rokhsana Fiaz, Newham council, leftist governments, people power, Democratic Socialists of America, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, banking crimes

In Newham, East London, Rokhsana Fiaz took power in May with a radical manifesto to alleviate the council's housing crisis and increase citizen participation. She is following through, and change is afoot.

"the world has been growing too fast for too long. And now...the Earth is full. The only solution, he says, is to radically change the way we consume."

ICE detention centers, ICE detainees, immigrant rights, illegal immigration, Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project

Isabel's husband was detained by ICE. Then she received a call from the Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project, part of a wave of new groups that bail out detained immigrants. They wanted to help.

rising U.K. poverty, U.K. housing costs, soaring rents, Universal Income, Brexit

Britain is experiencing a financial crisis on a level not seen since the 2008 credit crunch, with average household expenses now higher than average household income for the first time in 30 years.

movement building, movement of movements, movement stages, National Improved Medicare for All,

One way we measure success is by recognizing the growing popular movements across multiple fronts of struggle. Another way is by observing the actions of our opponents.

GOP tax scam, pass-through income, giveaways to billionaires, tax cuts for the rich, Treasury Department

The Treasury Department not only sided with banking lobbyists’ definition of “financial services,” but its new rule’s fine print echoed their interpretations of the 2017 federal tax law.

free market orthodoxy, libertarianism, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, privatization, socialism, capitalism, deregulation, monopolies, rightwing economics, voodoo economics

Concentrated corporate power must be dismantled and democracy substituted for it – a global project that will take generations but is likely to develop momentum as society experiences ever-greater crises.

Posted 5 days 16 hours ago
rising inequality, wealth inequality, wealth gap, World Inequality Report, GOP tax cuts,

The income share of the poorest half of Americans is declining while the richest have grabbed more. In Europe, it’s not happening.

Posted 6 days 13 hours ago
free market economics, libertarianism, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, privatization, socialism, capitalism, anarchism, communism

The spectacle of millions adhering to such a breathtakingly stupid ideology as libertarianism would be comical if it weren’t so tragic.

Posted 6 days 12 hours ago
rising U.K. poverty, U.K. housing costs, soaring rents, Universal Income, Brexit

Britain is experiencing a financial crisis on a level not seen since the 2008 credit crunch, with average household expenses now higher than average household income for the first time in 30 years.

Posted 2 days 16 hours ago
GOP tax scam, pass-through income, giveaways to billionaires, tax cuts for the rich, Treasury Department

The Treasury Department not only sided with banking lobbyists’ definition of “financial services,” but its new rule’s fine print echoed their interpretations of the 2017 federal tax law.

Posted 4 days 17 hours ago
movement building, movement of movements, movement stages, National Improved Medicare for All,

One way we measure success is by recognizing the growing popular movements across multiple fronts of struggle. Another way is by observing the actions of our opponents.

ICE detention centers, ICE detainees, immigrant rights, illegal immigration, Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project

Isabel's husband was detained by ICE. Then she received a call from the Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project, part of a wave of new groups that bail out detained immigrants. They wanted to help.

anti-Fascist, demonstrators, white supremacists, white nationalists, Unite the Right, Charlottesville violence, neo-Nazis, KKK, Ku Klux Klan

A small group of white nationalists marched through downtown Washington on Sunday and were met at the rally site by thousands of counterdemonstrators denouncing racism and white supremacy.

rising U.K. poverty, U.K. housing costs, soaring rents, Universal Income, Brexit

Britain is experiencing a financial crisis on a level not seen since the 2008 credit crunch, with average household expenses now higher than average household income for the first time in 30 years.

rising inequality, wealth inequality, wealth gap, World Inequality Report, GOP tax cuts,

The income share of the poorest half of Americans is declining while the richest have grabbed more. In Europe, it’s not happening.