The Justice Department announced Thursday that it will no longer use private prisons, which is a decision that will be considered a victory by prison reform advocates who have long argued that private prisons provide inadequate care to inmates and that the for-profit prison model favors corporate gains over actual justice. The Washington Post reports that the Justice Department has decided to cease the use of private prisons after determining private prisons are less effective than government-run prisons.
The decision comes on the heels of a Federal Bureau of Prisons investigation into private prisons. The results of that investigation were released last week, and they revealed that private prisons, which mainly hold migrants convicted of immigration-related offenses, are significantly less safe than government-operated prisons and routinely use practices that sacrifice inmates' care and overall well-being. For example, investigators found that in two of the three private prisons they were visiting regularly, new inmates were immediately placed in solitary confinement due to a lack of space.
Investigators with the Federal Bureau of Prisons also found that inmate assaults are 28 percent more frequent in private prisons compared to government prisons.
The Washington Post reports that Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates stated in a DOJ memo that officials have been directed to allow private prison contracts to expire without renewal or to "substantially reduce" the scope of the contracts. Yates further stated that the DOJ's aim is "reducing — and ultimately ending — our use of privately operated prisons."