US Plans to End Use of Private Prisons

US Plans to End Use of Private PrisonsUS Plans to End Use of Private Prisons

The US Department of Justice has said it will end the use of private prisons to detain federal inmates. The practice has been criticized for not being efficient and for maximizing profits at inmates' expense.

In an internal memo that was made public on Thursday, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said the Department of Justice would begin to reverse the process of privatization for some US prisons.

The practice has become increasingly controversial, proving more problematic but no less expensive than the use of state-run correctional facilities, AFP reported.

"They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs and resources; they do not save substantially on costs," Yates wrote, also citing a report that said private prisons were more dangerous than those in public hands. The decision affects some 22,000 people—about 11% of the federal prison population—housed in about 13 privately-run prisons.

"As each private prison contract reaches the end of its term, the bureau should either decline to renew that contract or substantially reduce its scope in a manner consistent with law and the overall decline of the bureau’s inmate population," said Yates.

Three companies run the prisons in question: Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group and Management and Training Corporation.

Shares in CCA and GEO Group plunged sharply on the news, both down by nearly 39% within hours.