Target: Mr. Jeff Sessions, U.S. Attorney General
Goal: Uphold the Obama-era goal of phasing out the Justice Department’s use of private prisons.
Private, for-profit prisons could soon be back in full force due to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ withdrawal of an Obama Administration memo that set a goal of reducing and terminating the Justice Department’s reliance on private prisons. Last year, the former Attorney General stated that private prisons did not provide substantial cost savings and were simply not adequate in terms of correctional services, safety, and security. Mr. Sessions disregarded previous reports by Justice Department personnel outlining the dangers of privately run facilities and focused on private companies’ flexible management of the prison population instead. Therefore, the current Attorney General shows that the prison industrial complex is an essential tool to this administration’s goals.
Currently, the Bureau of Prisons holds 12 private prison contracts, with around 21,000 inmates total. Though this might seem a small number, it is important to consider first that the guidelines for the federal correctional system have a strong impact on the debates in the state level and can highly influence its legislature. Second, the number of private prisons and, therefore, inmates detained in privately run facilities may be relatively modest now, but it is going to skyrocket with such an endorsement by the Trump administration.
GEO Group and CoreCivic (former CCA), the two largest private prison companies in America, have enthusiastically expressed their interest and availability to accept inmates, even on short notice, and declared their installations perfectly meet Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s standards. Having donated large amounts during the campaign trail, both companies will have their financial gains boosted by the recently enacted immigration and deportation policies. On the other hand, the country will witness the upsurge of mass incarceration practices that only perpetuate violence, poverty, and social inequality. Sign the petition below to demand that the government holds the commitment to end private prisons.
Dear Mr. Sessions,
Numerous reports and studies have markedly shown that the United States should not rely on private prisons anymore. Their performance is poorer compared to the government-run facilities’ performance. Private prisons do not provide adequate correctional services, programs, and services, and, therefore, their only goal is profit at the expense of the well-being people and society.
The Obama administration took the first step to change the cycle of violence and poverty connected to mass incarceration practices when it decided to phase out the use of private prisons. I urge you to revert your decision to disregard the Obama-era memo on the topic and not reinstate the reliance on such damning facilities. The new administration should work toward solutions that promote a different model of imprisonment.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore