Success: Department of Justice To Phase Out For-Profit Prisons

Target: Attorney General Loretta Lynch

Goal: Applaud the end of the federal government’s use of private prisons.

In a victory for the rights of incarcerated people and against prison profiteering, the Justice Department has announced that it will phase out the use of privately owned prisons. Speaking on behalf of the justice department, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates stated that private prisons have failed to provide a safe and secure environment to inmates, as well as the substantial savings promised to the taxpayers. This decision comes after the publication of a report that found private prisons had higher rates of violence, worse facilities, and fewer resources than public penitentiaries. Furthermore, the report found that inmates were more likely to suffer arbitrary solitary confinement.

The continued use of private prisons by the U.S. government has been the object of political pressure in the form of protests, articles, and petitions, including ForceChange petitions such as these. Many commentators have pointed out that private prisons have a vested interest in a high rate of recidivism. Sign our petition and applaud the Justice Department’s decision to phase out private prisons.


Dear Attorney General Lynch,

I was pleased to hear that the Justice Department will phase out its contacts with private prison corporations. I believe this is an important step toward untangling private and public interests in corrections and rehabilitation, as well as reducing the incentive structures that lead to mass incarceration. Furthermore, this decision unravels many of the most common talking points deployed in favor of private prisons: that they are cheaper and provide a comparable service.

Moving forward, it is important to recognize that private prison corporations such as GE, and Corrections Corporation of America still house a significant proportion of the incarcerated population at the state level. While private prison corporations continue to profit from inmates, they will continue to oppose any major criminal justice reform. I urge you to push for similar phase-outs in state-level corrections systems.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: John Zalesny

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