A front-page New York Times story headlined "On Private Prisoner Vans, Long Road of Neglect" examined the little-known for-profit firms providing interstate transport in large vans for persons being extradited to face out-of-state court hearings or shuttled to distant prisons.
Already, a federal contract will be ended for a private prison in New Mexico with 1,200 federal inmates, and another contract will be scaled backed from 10,800 spaces to 3,600. By next May, DOJ estimates the number of federal inmates in private prisons will fall below 14,200.
In a blog last week, I summarized the Department of Justice's August 18 announcement it plans to stop sending federal inmates to privately-owned prisons. Now, let's look at the background leading up to this change, and how far-reaching it may turn out to be.
He also wants to do more to help former inmates.
A black boy born in 2001 has a one in three chance of going to prison in his lifetime and a Latino boy a one in six chance of the same fate. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world: 7.1 million adult residents -- one in 33 -- are under some form of correctional supervision including prison, jail, probation, or parole. Michelle Alexander writes in her bestselling book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness that there are more adult African Americans under correctional control today than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began. In 2011, our state and federal prison population exceeded that of the top 35 European nations combined. Something's very wrong with this picture.
No matter what the politicians or corporate heads might say, prison privatization is neither fiscally responsible nor in keeping with principles of justice. It simply encourages incarceration for the sake of profits.
The private prison industry is on the march. In recent months the industry moved to take over 24 state prisons in southern Florida and buy five prisons in Ohio. Now it's making moves in Michigan. But the industry doesn't always win. Resistance isn't futile.
Once enacted, the legislation would give companies 30 days to draw up proposals to operate the 27 facilities in South Florida
The real problem is that the structure of private detention and prison contracting creates incentives and behaviors that poison our system of criminal justice.