ACLU Statement on Biden’s Executive Order to End DOJ Private Prison Contracts

January 26, 2021 2:30 pm

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WASHINGTON — The Biden administration announced an executive order today directing the attorney general not to renew Department of Justice contracts with privately operated criminal detention facilities.

David Fathi, director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project, issued the following statement:

“The Biden-Harris administration has a mandate to fight mass incarceration and the racial disparities that characterize it. Today’s executive order validates something we’ve been saying for years: No one should profit from the human misery that is caused by mass incarceration. Prison privatization increases the potential for mistreatment and abuse of incarcerated people, and this move by the Biden administration will start curtailing this insidious practice.

“It does not, however, limit the role of other profiteers, such as for-profit prison health care companies, which have also been the source of much abuse and malfeasance in recent years. And it does not end the relationship between private prison companies and the Department of Homeland Security, including in the immigrant detention system. There is much more work to be done.

“President Biden made bold commitments on the campaign trail to cut mass incarceration and reverse the legacy of decades of racist and damaging policies. The order signed today is an important first step toward acknowledging the harm that has been caused and taking actions to repair it, but President Biden has an obligation to do more, especially given his history and promises. We have been encouraged by pledges to reform federal use of force standards, end the use of solitary confinement, and abolish the federal death penalty. The advocates and organizations that elected him will hold him accountable to his campaign promises.”

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