U.S. Department of Justice Will Stop Using Private Prisons 

click to enlarge ADAM ROSENLUND
  • Adam Rosenlund

Updated Post Aug. 18, 11:58 a.m.:

In the wake of U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates' memo regarding its use of private prisons, the value of Corrections Corporation of America stock has dropped more than 35 percent, from 27.06 at the opening bell to 16.96 at 11:57 a.m.

Original Post Aug. 18, 11:48 a.m.:

United States Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, in an Aug. 18 memo, directed DOJ officials to decline renewal or "substantially reduce" the scope of contracts with private prison companies, The Washington Post reports

"[Private prisons] simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs," she wrote.

In a report released earlier this month by the DOJ Evaluation and Inspections Division found private prisons are more dangerous than facilities managed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The report looked at prison contraband, incident reports, lockdowns, inmate discipline, telephone monitoring, "selected grievances," drug testing and sexual misconduct, and found "a majority of cases we examined, contract prisons incurred more safety and security incidents per capita than comparable BOP institutions."

Currently, the DOJ has contracts with 13 privately run prisons, which as of December 2015, housed approximately 22,660 inmates—down from nearly 30,000 inmates in 2013. Yates' directive would close at least three private prisons and by May 2017, the number of federal inmates at the remaining private facilities could be less than 14,200 inmates.

Yates' order applies only to federal facilities, but several states have contracts with private companies to house inmates held on felony, rather than federal, charges. Idaho ended its privatization experiment in 2013, when Corrections Corporation of America returned the keys to the Idaho Correctional Center after CCA admitted to falsifying staffing records—a violation of its contract with the state.

However, the controversy surrounding the Gem State and CCA began long before. In November 2012, eight inmates filed suit against the company, alleging it had colluded with prison gangs to control ICC. Records obtained by the Associated Press revealed disproportional violence at the facility: From September 2007 to September 2008, there were 132 inmate-on-inmate assaults at ICC, compared to 42 incidents at all other Idaho prisons combined.
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