The progress made by the former Obama administration and grassroots efforts to roll back on private prisons has all been undone by President Donald Trump.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reportedly rolled back on a memo implemented by former President Barack Obama reducing and ultimately ending the Justice Department’s use of private prisons. Sessions views on the memo were that it “changed long-standing policy and practice, and impaired the Bureau’s ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system.”
The two largest private prison companies have told investors that they have room to accommodate increased use of their prisons by federal or state and local authorities. On an earnings call with stock analysts this week, executives at GEO Group emphasized that their company has a total of 5,000 spots in its prisons that are presently either unused or underutilized.
GEO senior vice President David Donahue put it fairly bluntly, telling analysts that their idle and underutilized cells are “immediately available and meet ICE’s national detention standards.”
Senator Bernie Sanders had some harsh words towards Sessions and the Trump administration.
“Private prison companies invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and today they got their reward: the Trump administration reversed the Obama administration’s directive to reduce the Justice Department’s use of private prisons,” Sanders said in a statement. “At a time when we already have more people behind bars than any other country, Trump just opened the floodgates for private prisons to make huge profits by building more prisons and keeping, even more, Americans in jail.”
It seems a big coincidence that this news comes at the same time the Trump administration take an unpopular approach to delegitimize recreational and medical marijuana and take it out the state’s hands to decide to legalize it or not. Not to forget the increase pressures of deportation or imprison “bad hombre” as he promised during the election.