U.S. Justice Department’s Sally Yates announced today that it plans to end its use of private prisons after DOJ officials concluded such facilities are less safe and effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government.
Sally Yates, the Deputy Attorney General, gave the announcement earlier today through a memo that tells officials to decline to renew expired private prison contracts, or to reduce the overall scope of the contracts. Yates wrote that the ultimate goal here is ending the use of private prisons for good. Reports the Guardian,
“They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security,” Yates wrote in her memo to Tom Kane, acting director of the federal prisons bureau, which had been published on the DOJ’s website earlier today before Yates tweeted that the “time has come” to “end the DOJ’s use of private prisons” from her twitter account.
The time has come to reduce & ultimately end DOJ’s use of private prisons. Read my memo to BOP Acting Director: https://t.co/AOt4EOaKfy
— DAG Sally Yates (@SallyQYates) August 18, 2016
This announcement comes as an answer to the cries of millions of citizens around the United States whose families have been torn apart by long prison sentences for non-violent crimes, a result of the profit motive behind privatized prisons in America. The subject had been a topic of debate throughout the Democratic primary and a point of contention with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who had helped to build up the private prison industry through her advocation of the bill that allowed the line between federal and private prison management in the 1990s.
Private prisons make a profit by offering a monthly cost to the government to hold each prisoner in their facilities. That cost comes out of a budget established by the DOJ that taxpayers pay into every year. Yates explained that the amount being paid to private facilities is simply too much for what society gets in return. It’s been argued for decades that people do not get rehabilitated in prison and often end their sentence only to receive another after being released as a more hardened criminal.