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Booker Statement on Trump Administration Reversal of Policy Phasing Out Use of Private Prisons

February 23, 2017
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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) today issued the following statement on the Trump administration’s decision to reverse a Department of Justice policy phasing out use of privately managed prisons in the federal system:

“The Trump Administration’s decision to reverse course on existing policies designed to gradually end the use of private prisons is a major setback to restoring justice to our criminal justice system. The Bureau of Prison’s own inspector general has found that privately-managed prisons housing federal inmates are less safe and less secure than federal prisons, and these facilities have seen repeated instances of civil rights violations. Attaching a profit motive to imprisonment undermines the cause of justice and fairness. This damaging decision cuts against our deeply held values of justice and liberty, while creating vast wealth for private prison operators.”

Booker, a leading voice in the Senate for criminal justice reform, has been critical of 
privatized prisons. In a 2015 SenateCommittee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing, Booker criticized the Bureau of Prisons overreliance on for-profit facilities. In July 2016, Sen. Booker authored a letter to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch urging the Department of Justice to investigate the nature and extent of prisoner abuse and neglect within the private prisoner transport industry.Booker applaudedthe Obama Administration’s decision to greatly reduce the use of private prison facilities last August.