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Did You Know? Part 1 - Slavery and For-Profit Incarceration

Did you know that for-profit incarceration can be directly traced to African slavery?  This article is the first in a series documenting the moral problems of for-profit incarceration. It traces the direct line from chattel slavery in the colonial United States to private prisons – at each step, government policy has worked to keep black Americans marginalized, abused, and in many cases, an asset to enrich others.    Continue reading

Federal Policy Reversal

Last Friday Jeff Sessions, the new United States Attorney General, announced by memorandum that the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) will continue using private, for-profit prisons for federal inmates.  This announcement is disappointing to us but is great news for the shareholders and executives of private prison corporations, particularly CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) and GEO Group.  The Sessions memo reversed the "Yates memo;" i.e., the announcement by the Obama administration on August 18, 2016 that FBOP would discontinue contracting with private prison corporations. Continue reading

Private Prisons Are Unconstitutional

We have been asked several times about why Abolish Private Prisons (“APP”) will not challenge private prisons on their quality (or lack thereof) including, for example, lack of programs, poor medical care, increased taxpayer costs and overall conditions. This blog post provides our summary rationale. First, private prisons have not cornered the market on bad prison conditions. Public facilities have so many long-standing problems of their own. Any comparison of public to private prisons invites never-ending, expensive studies and monitoring where the facts on the ground change constantly. Comparative challenges would be very fact-intensive and the preliminary questions would include “between which facilities?”, “on which day?”, and “in which year?”. Yes, there have been state and federal government reports that are very critical of private prisons. The same criticisms can be levied against many public prisons, and have been. Continue reading

A Good Beginning

On August 18, 2016, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) would no longer contract with private prisons to house federal inmates.  This welcome news followed presidential campaign statements, first from Bernie Sanders and then from Hillary Rodham Clinton, that these candidates opposed prison privatization. Continue reading