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US justice department announces it will end use of private prisons

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The Obama administration said on Thursday that it planned to end the federal government’s use of private prisons, after an inquiry found they were drastically more unsafe than publicly run facilities.

Deputy attorney general Sally Yates announced the decision in a memo to Thomas Kane, the acting director of the federal prisons bureau, which was published on the justice department’s website.

“I am eager to enlist your help in beginning the process of reducing – and ultimately ending – our use of privately operated prisons,” Yates said. Officials were directed to not renew or substantially downscale contracts with prison operators as they expire.

The decision immediately prompted a sharp decline in the share prices of America’s biggest private prison companies.

Yates said in her memo that research had found private prisons “simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources” and “do not save substantially on costs” either. Essential government education and training programs for prisoners “have proved difficult to replicate and outsource” in the private sector, she said. – READ MORE

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