Monday, February 27, 2017
DOJ Decision to Stick with Private Prisons is Dangerous
Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he would abandon an earlier Justice Department memo that set a goal of reducing and ultimately ending the Department’s use of private prisons.
Mara Keisling reflected: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions can’t seem to make it one day without doing something to make Americans less safe. On Wednesday, he was bullying transgender kids. On Thursday, he announced he is fine with unsafe and unaccountable private prisons. LGBT people are incarcerated at much higher rates and transgender people are ten times as likely to be sexually abused behind bars. Relying on private prisons is neither fiscally nor morally responsible.”
Last year, then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates explained the Department's finding that private prisons “compare poorly to our own [federal prison] facilities. 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.”
Americans in private prisons, especially those who are LGBT, are more likely to be assaulted, have less access to the basics of rehabilitation, and leave worse off than when they arrived. All communities benefit from smart criminal justice reform.
NCTE works with state and local advocates to help them improve conditions in state and local prisons and jails—see our resource Standing with LGBT Prisoners: An Advocate’s Guide to Ending Abuse and Combating Imprisonment.