The Daily Beast

Justice Department to End Federal Contracts With Private Prisons


In the 1990s, Joe Biden bragged that his work in the U.S. Senate helped America win the “War on Crime.” Decades later, one of his first acts as president will be to undo one of the most potent symbols of that record.

Included in a raft of executive orders designed to address systemic racism in the housing and criminal justice systems that Biden intends to sign on Tuesday afternoon is an order ending the Department of Justice’s use of private prisons. Such facilities, operated across the country, are a billion-dollar industry, paid for with taxpayer money and often plagued by dehumanizing conditions for inmates, minimal training of personnel, and work conditions that former detainees liken to slave labor.

“Mass incarceration imposes significant costs on our society and community, while private prisons profiteer off federal prisoners and have been found by the Department of Justice’s own inspector general to be less safe and secure,” a senior administration official told reporters on a briefing ahead of the announcement of the executive orders’ contents, calling the policy a “first step in his broader criminal justice agenda.”

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