Attorney General Jeff Sessions has officially rescinded a memo issued by Barack Obama’s administration, which ordered the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to stop contracting with for-profit private prisons.
BREAKING: Attorney General Jeff Sessions signals support for private prisons, rescinds memo meant to phase out their use.
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 23, 2017
“This will restore BOP’s flexibility to manage the federal prison inmate population based on capacity needs,” Sessions’s Department of Justice (DOJ) says.
The previous order, which former Attorney General Sally Yates issued in August of 2016, found that private prisons compared “poorly” to Bureau of Prisons facilities. Her memo was followed by a report issued by the DOJ earlier that year that found private prisons to be more dangerous than government-run facilities.
DOJ investigators found that private prisons had an increase in violence not only between inmates but also between inmates and staff. The report also found more instances of lockdowns and unjustified use of isolation units and solitary confinement than federally run prisons.
Sessions, ignoring the report, ordered the Bureau of Prisons to resume contracting with private prisons immediately.
“The memorandum changed long-standing policy and practice, and impaired the Bureau’s ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system. Therefore, I direct the Bureau to return to its previous approach,” Sessions said in the letter canceling the memorandum.
The move does not come as a total surprise, however. In January, Mother Jones warned that Sessions would be “good news” for private prisons, citing Sessions expressed support for the system. Sessions helped a private prison company in Alabama secure a federal contract in 2006.
The CEO groups, one of the country’s largest private prison companies also donated $125,000 to a Trump Super-PAC. The donation proves, once again, that in the Trump administration, money can buy you power.
Dan Arel is a bestselling author of The Secular Activist; and Parenting Without God. He is an award-winning journalist and host of the Danthropology Podcast.