Comment On The Announcement By The Department of Justice Regarding Private Prisons

Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
On The Announcement by the Department of Justice Regarding Private Prisons

February 24, 2017

[This week, Attorney General Sessions reversed a Justice Department policy to reduce and then end its use of private prisons. That policy, announced in August 2016 by then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, was responsive to a DOJ Inspector General report finding that private prisons “incurred more safety and security incidents per capita” than federal facilities. During his confirmation Attorney General Sessions told Senator Leahy that that he would “carefully evaluate” the private prison policy, yet his one-paragraph announcement this week made no mention of the IG report and cited no evidence in support of his decision.]

“In a one paragraph announcement this week, Attorney General Sessions made clear that this administration thinks that even our prison system should be a for-profit business. For too long, the conditions found in many private prisons have placed inmates and officers at risk. The Obama administration rightly committed to phasing out the Bureau of Prison’s use of private prisons. The Trump administration’s rash and unfounded reversal of that policy is deeply disappointing. It is also an affront to taxpayers who expect sound and sensible government. I will soon introduce legislation to provide greater transparency and accountability for private prisons while they are appropriately phased out.”

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