Biden’s Private Prison E.O. Won’t Affect Mass Incarceration


President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced an end to federal use of private prisons, a move he heralded as a blow to mass incarceration but which would affect just 2 percent of all prisoners.

Biden’s executive order, which requires the Department of Justice to begin phasing out private detention contracts, is specifically targeted at “decreas[ing] incarceration levels” by reducing “profit-based incentives to incarcerate.” Speaking to the press Tuesday, Biden called the order “just the beginning of my administration’s plan to address systemic problems in our criminal justice system.”

“President Biden is committed to reducing mass incarceration while making our communities safer,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing on the order. “That starts with ending the federal government’s reliance on private prisons.”

But the federal government is not reliant on private prisons, and the order would affect less than 2 percent of all prisoners in the United States, official data show, including just 16 percent of federal prisoners. It would also not reduce incarceration, as prisoners would be moved to public facilities and would likely leave untouched the many federal private prison detainees housed under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security. – READ MORE

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