The Justice Department has announced that it will cease its use of private prisons after officials discovered the facilities were doing more harm than good. The Washington Post digs into a report from the Justice Department’s Inspector General and found privately operated prisons actually cause more safety and security incidents than government run facilities. On Thursday, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said in a memo that she is urging officials to either not renew private prison operators contracts or simply decline extensions. She said private prisons are just not meeting their goals and hopes to phase them out completely:
“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.”
Safety was a prime concern for the decision, as private prisons see an influx of assault — both for inmates on inmates and inmates on staff — and eight times as many contraband cell phones are confiscated on a yearly average. The violence in the private prisons is also leaving some of the facilities beyond repair. The Justice Department found the facilities are facing “extensive property damage” and injuries among inmates and staff. The decision also comes at a time when the number of private prison inmates has drastically declined the past few years.
In a separate interview, Yates said that these problems are more than reason enough to shut down the private facilities: