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New DOJ Attorney General Sessions reverses policy on private prisons

The Department of Justice's new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has issued a new memo rescinding last summer's decision to phase out the use of private prisons. According to Rewire, Sessions instructed the Bureau of Prisons on Thursday to once again rely on private prisons.

Last August, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates issued a memo saying that the BOP would begin phasing out the use of private prisons and would not renew any contracts that were being reviewed. This statement followed a review by the Department of Homeland Security into the conditions of private prisons and whether they were still productive or necessary. Following the announcement, stocks in private prison companies dropped dramatically.

However, with a new attorney general and an increase in raids against undocumented immigrants, private prison companies stocks have increased as President Trump looks to expand detention centers around the country. Some groups however, view the policy reversal as suspicious. According to the Intercept, the GEO Group, one of the largest private prison companies in the U.S., made two large contributions to Trump's Presidential campaign. CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) donated $250,000 to Trump's campaign.

Grassroots Leadership’s Executive Director Bob Libal in a statement cited Sessions’ announcement as yet another act by the Trump administration that undermines criminal justice reforms and civil rights for incarcerated people. “This administration appears to be more interested in lining the coffers of its friends at private prison corporations than promoting common sense policies that would reduce the incarcerated population and close troubled prisons,” Libal said.

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