In a shocking announcement, the Department of Justice has announced on Thursday morning that they would be drastically reducing and ultimately ending their use of private prisons nationwide after an investigation discovered that private prisons were both less safe and less effective than government-ran facilities.
The report revealed that privately run prisons were far more violent, both inmates and correctional officers committing more violent acts, while contraband and other illegal activities raged on far more often in privately ran facilities.
Public pressure no doubt played a role as well as several investigations committed by Mother Jones, the Nation, and other outlets brought to the public eye the dark underbelly of the corporate prisons. Even popular shows like “Orange is the New Black” explored the drastic differences between federal and privately owned prisons, bringing to the public’s attention the ways we are failing those incarcerated.
This change will affect 13 privately run facilities, though the process will be slower than many would like. No contract is being canceled, but will instead be review one by one as their contract comes up for renewal. All 13 will be up for review in the next 5 years.
It is anyone’s guess what might happen at those 13 facilities during the next five years as they face impending closure. The already strictly run facilities will no doubt continue to deprive their residents of basic necessities as they see their payday slowly dwindling.
While we are grateful that the DOJ has finally seen the light on this human rights violation, we fear for what inmates will face in the next few years as the department takes a more bureaucratic approach to solving this issue.