Private prisons unfazed in Florida despite DOJ's phase-out

31 August 2016, 06:57 | Noah Barnes

Private prisons unfazed in Florida despite DOJ's phase-out

Private prisons unfazed in Florida despite DOJ's phase-out

The private prisons are operated by three private companies - Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group Inc., and Management and Training Corp. This, she said, provided an opportunity to reevaluate the US government's relationship with private prisons, which in 2014 alone cost the Bureau $639 million. Yates said the Justice Department would not terminate existing contracts but instead review those that come up for renewal.

It was not clear on Friday how the Obama administration's decision to phase out its use of some private prisons will affect five such facilities now operating in Texas as well as the communities where they are located. The Huff Post reported: "The prison companies share the spoils of their business with the local government, effectively giving area law enforcement an incentive to apprehend as many undocumented immigrants as they can".

She said that in Arizona, the private prison companies have been pushing that state to guarantee them 90 percent occupancy - or the financial equivalent. Private prisons hold about 22,100 of these inmates, or 12 percent of the total population, the Justice Department said. Yates stated the goal as "reducing - and ultimately ending - our use of privately operated prisons".

"The Texas Department of Criminal Justice should follow the lead of the Justice Department and end their relationships with the for-profit prison industry", said Rebecca L. Robertson, legal and policy director for the ACLU of Texas".

In fact, just a week ago, a report by the Department of Justice's internal watchdog, the inspector general's office, found that "in most key areas, contract prisons incurred more safety and security incidents per capita than comparable [Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)] institutions".

The Justice Department announced that it'll let contracts with private prison operators expire in five years time.

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Last month, the federal government declined to renew a contract for approximately 1,200 beds.

Privately-run prisons are not as safe or effective as government-run facilities and will be phased out, the United States says.

In 2010, it closed the Huerfano Correctional Facility, another private prison in Walsenburg. It is operated by Corrections Corporation of America. Today, in part as a result of that initiative, we are experiencing declining numbers in our prison population.

The inspector's report also showed that the Bureau of Prisons spent $639 million on private prisons in 2014.

But Yates observations were consistent with the Inspector General's report. Moreover, these 13 facilities are a fraction of the private prisons in the US; the move will not have an effect on the size of the prison population.

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