Under the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Justice had decided to gradually end its use of private federal prisons due to the fact that inmates being housed there while serving sentences following federal criminal convictions were being physically abused, denied medical care, and forced to endure inhumane living conditions while corporations such as Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group were seeing profits soar at the expense of human dignity. Then Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates had described how such private prisons compared poorly to Bureau of Prison (BOP) facilities for federal criminal defendants because they neither maintained the same level of safety and security nor offered the same rehabilitative services, such as educational programs and job training, that are essential to reducing recidivism and improving public safety. While stock shares of CCA (now renamed as CoreCivic) and Geo Group had initially fallen, they subsequently soared after Republicans won control of Congress and the White House and then again after current Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama administration order directing the Federal BOP to phase out its use of private prisons. It is expected that President Trump’s recent executive actions cracking down on unauthorized immigrants will likely greatly expand the private prison industry. As such, the flagrant question going forward that we must examine is whether the contracts for these private facilities will be based solely on turning a profit by cutting costs and filling bed space or whether economic incentives will be offered for reducing recidivism and improving prospects for societal reentry through quality educational programs and vocational training. For a President who has marketed himself as a skilled negotiator and dealmaker who intends to “make America great again,” the real test will be whether he will also have the vision to negotiate a deal that not only turns a profit but also helps to better society in the end by providing federal criminal inmates with a pathway out of the darkness and into the light of a productive future.
About the Author
- “Top 50 Women” Super Lawyers July 26, 2016
- “10 Best” Attorneys in PA for Client Satisfaction in Criminal Law November 07, 2016
- America’s Most Honored Professionals April 08, 2016