Sen. Bernie Sanders just introduced a bill to end one of the biggest contributors to America’s broken criminal justice system: private, corporate-run, for-profit prisons.1
Today, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and poor people and people of color suffer the most at the hands of our out-of-control incarceration industry.2 That’s partly because the corporations that operate for-profit prisons are primarily concerned with their bottom lines. To maximize profits, those corporations advocate for increased incarcerations and unreasonably strict parole and release laws. And they win.
Corporations should not be able to profit from mass incarceration. The Justice Is Not For Sale Act, introduced by Sen. Sanders and Rep. Raul Grijalva, bars federal, state, and local governments from contracting with private prisons. We need to come out in strong support of this bill.
Out of the 1.6 million people incarcerated in 2013, over 8 percent of them were in private prisons. Reports show that inmates in these facilities suffer worse conditions, including more assaults and higher recidivism.3, 4 For-profit prisons are also incentivized to advocate for laws that reduce basic rights, benefits, and entitlements inmates receive while in prison.
And when for-profit prison corporations lobby for harsh laws that lead to more incarcerations, incarceration rates rise throughout the entire U.S. correctional system, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill for maintaining the highest incarceration rate in the world.
In addition to banning private prisons, the Justice Is Not For Sale Act would enact a number of other measures to address mass incarceration. One would eliminate the mandatory bed quotas that require U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold an average of 34,000 individuals in detention on a daily basis. Another would restore the federal parole system. The abolition of the federal parole system was a major factor in the explosion of the federal prison population since 1980, and makes it impossible for federal prisoners to access parole boards that can look individually at their sentences.
Sign the petition now and tell Congress to get behind a bill that provides real solutions to America’s mass incarceration crisis.
Tell Congress: Ban private for-profit prisons. Click the link below to sign the petition:
Thank you for your activism.
Heidi Hess, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
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- John Wagner, « Sanders to push a plan to ban private companies from running prisons, » The Washington Post, September 17, 2015.
- « U.S. Has World’s Highest Incarceration Rate, » Population Reference Bureau, August 2012.
- « Emerging Issues on Privatized Justice, » U.S. Department of Justice, February 2001.
- « The effects of private prison confinement in Minnesota on offender recidivism, » Minnesota Department of Corrections, March 2013.