Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Taking Back Prisons

Following up on yesterday's post, one of the many concerns with the US prison system, is the use of private prisons.  The profit driven systems have added additional burdens for the incarcerated and their incentive is to incarcerate as many as possible.  The latter burden falls mostly on minorities.  The first thing that the incarcerated lose is their dignity.  Private prisons promote that result with their focus on profits, rather than providing decent living and medical conditions for the men and women (and now children at the border) they house.

According to the Sentencing Project "Since 2000, the number of people in private prisons has increased 47%, compared to an overall rise in the prison population of 9%. In six states, the private prison population has more than doubled during this period. The federal prison system experienced a 120% increase in use of private prisons since 2000, reaching 34,159 people in private facilities in 2016. Among the immigrant detention population, 26,249 people – 73% of the detained population – were confined in privately run facilities in 2017. The private immigrant population grew 442% since 2002."

Change is coming. 

New York has been one of the leaders in removing private prisons from state systems.  In addition to banning private prisons, New York has divested state pension funds from private prison holdings in CoreCivic and GEO Group and prohibits NY State-chartered banks from financing and investing in private prison corporations.  

In June. Nevada banned the use of private prisons for core services, including custody and housing. The bill's primary sponsor said "Outlawing for-profit prisons once and for all will better help us achieve a criminal justice system of equity, integrity, and fairness — a system that views prisoners as people instead of profit margins.”  Also in June, Nevada enacted a law prohibiting private prisons from housing detained immigrants.

For those living in states that use private prison systems, this might be a good time to contact legislators to encourage a bill that will prohibit their us.

Margaret Drew, Prisons | Permalink


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