Private prisons on the way out

Private prisons on the way out

"As each private prison contract reaches the end of its term, the bureau should either decline to renew that contract or substantially reduce its scope in a manner consistent with law and the overall decline of the bureau's inmate population", said Yates.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday that it plans to stop contracting with for-profit prison companies, a decision that will affect some 20,000 federal inmates.

Privately owned federal prisons will soon be a thing of the past said the Justice Department on Thursday. Problems including low food quality and medical care have plagued private prisons for years, with periodicals such as The Nation publishing exposés on the conditions at the prisons.

The contract prisons are operated by three private corporations, according to the Inspector General's report: Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group and Management and Training Corporation.

Questions remain, however, over how significant the development is to the private-prison industry and the country's growing prison population.

Private prisons on the way out

Yates wrote that the initial contracts were written in response to an exploding prison population, but by 2013 that population began to decline, due in part to a resetting of sentencing guidelines. According to the Mississippi Department of Corrections website, there are five active private prisons in the state.

But some of the private prison companies that operate these facilities said Friday they're hopeful contracts up for renewal in the next few months to continue running several of the prisons in Texas will be approved.

"Many of the facilities that involve private prison corporations are actually contracted through local governments, who then subcontract for services through private companies", she said. The private prisons are reputed to spend millions on lobbying each year, so they may be hard to sever-and we are, after all, facing a change of administration, so will this resolution stick?

Yates wrote that private prisons "served an important role during a hard time period", but they had proved less effective than prisons run by the government. Already reports are that the stock value of some private prison corporations has dropped by more than 40%. The company, in deciding not to renew, cited the excessive costs to run the units, especially McPherson, which at the time housed all the state's female inmates.

The department does not have a "specific prohibition against using private bids in-state", said Solomon Graves, the department's spokesman. Auto prisons hold noncitizens, many of whom have been criminally prosecuted for crossing the border.

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