After years of poor accountability, bad treatment of workers and unsafe conditions in our nations' private prison system, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has had enough.
Thursday, DOJ announced they would be instructing the federal Bureau of Prisons to decline to renew the contracts for private prisons or drastically reduce the use of private prisons to house federal inmates with the goal of ending its use of private prisons.
"This is a huge victory for both inmates and correctional workers," said AFGE President J. David Cox. "The truth of the matter is, private prisons just aren't as accountable as our government prisons. The DOJ's Office of the Inspector General said it best in their recent report: private prisons are less safe for both inmates and workers, and we have a great opportunity to reform our system for the better."
Council of Prison Locals President Eric Young praised the decision as a victory for prison safety, and thanked DOJ for acknowledging that the size of the inmate population will determine how quickly the drawdown will commence.
"The men and women working in our federal Bureau of Prisons are the most professional, highly trained correctional workers in the nation, and are uniquely equipped to handle the heavy demands of inmate supervision," said CPL President Eric Young. "Because of their hard work, our communities know peace. Returning the responsibility of caring for and rehabilitating inmates will ensure that these men and women serve their time productively, and re-enter society as reformed, valuable citizens."
As the Department of Justice begins the process of closing private prisons, both Cox and Young are pressuring Congress to provide the Bureau of Prisons with sufficient resources to house and rehabilitate inmates in federal institutions, and work on meaningful reforms to decrease the overcrowding in our nation's prisons.
"We have always believed that private profits should never come before public safety, and we commend DOJ for coming to the same conclusion," Young said.
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