Campaign Updates

ENLACE-POSTER_outline_campaign11x85The Prison Divestment Campaign began in 2011 from the need to launch a comprehensive strategy to decriminalize immigrants and people of color, end detention, end mass incarceration, and demilitarize the border. It was not only Politicians that we needed to target, but also Private Prisons and Wall Street who were the other powerful force behind mass incarceration, the police state, immigrant detention, and deportation. The Campaign has since expanded, looking at how the private prison industry works to divide communities of color. We are building strong multiracial coalitions, emphasizing Black and Brown unity, to combat mass incarceration and immigration enforcement. We are working to divest from criminalization and incarceration, and demand reparations and reinvestment in our communities.

Enlace brings together organizations working on immigrant rights, criminal justice, another social justice groups to end mass incarceration and achieve legalization for all immigrants. For additional information visit Enlace’s webpage

Campaign to End Mass Incarceration, Deportations & Detention

2016 Week of Action

Click here for a listing of all the actions this week and to sign the petition to End Tax Breaks for Prisons

Department of Homeland Security: End All Detention Center Contracts with Private Prison Companies

Black-Prisoners-HandssmallerVia Color Of Change

August 18th, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that they are ending federal contracts with private prison companies. This is a crucial step towards ending the impact of private prison companies on our justice system but we must continue to fight their influence.

The private prison industry has a long history of contributing to mass incarceration in the U.S. which has disproportionately criminalized Black people. There have been numerous reports that many private prisons operate facilities with even poorer and more dangerous conditions than usual affecting inmates’ health, safety, and well-being.

The Department of Justice’s decision marks a major victory for our movement to end mass incarceration but, unfortunately, the federal government is not ending private prisons completely.

SIGN THE PETITION: DHS End All Detention Center Contracts with Private Prisons

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Private Prison Companies Are Embracing Alternatives to Incarceration

They’ve hijacked the language of reform—but for them, it’s still business as usual.

Last Thursday, private prison stocks dropped like a rock when the Department of Justice announced that it would be phasing out its use of for-profit detention facilities. If you were an investor who had no ethical qualms about profiting from an industry that’s been accused of perpetrating a number of human rights abuses, it would have been a good time to buy. It turns out that reports of the industry’s imminent death have been greatly exaggerated.

Experts who track the business tell The Nation that as mass incarceration reform has become a bipartisan issue, private prison companies large and small have seen the writing on the wall, and are aggressively moving into alternatives to imprisonment. In fact, they say, the very same companies that have traditionally lobbied hard for tough-on-crime policies that would assure their facilities a steady flow of warm bodies are now embracing the language of criminal justice reform as they reach out into what they see as more lucrative markets.

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First Step in Shutting Private Prisons

adelantoA guard at the Adelanto Detention Facility in Adelanto, Calif., in 2013. CreditJohn Moore/Getty Images

Via New York Times | Editorial Board | August 22, 2016

The Justice Department instructed the Bureau of Prisons on Thursday to start phasing out the use of private detention facilities, a watershed step that should be the beginning of the end of an industry that has had an insidious effect on the American justice system.

In a memorandum, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said that the decline in the federal inmate population made it possible to start terminating and winding down contracts with private prisons, which she acknowledged were substandard and less safe than government-run prisons. “They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs and resources,” she wrote, adding that they also don’t “save substantially on costs.”

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Is This the Beginning of the End for the Private Prison Industry?

Via Alternet | By James Kilgore | August 22, 2016

 Photo Credit: idiz/ Shutterstock

Last week Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates seemingly turned the criminal justice world upside down. Her tool? A two-page memo to the acting head of the Bureau of Prisons that laid the groundwork for cutting off relations between the federal government and private prison operators. Citing the private facilities for excessive levels of violence, lack of “rehabilitative” services and failure to deliver on promised cost cutting, she directed the BOP head to “reduce” with the aim of “ultimately ending” federal contracts with private prisons. In the immediate future, BOP is either to “decline to renew” or “substantially reduce” the “scope” of each private prison contract when it ends.

However, while the political reverberations of Yates’ memo were enormous, its target is relatively small. Of the some 195,000 people in BOP facilities, a mere 22,000 are held in just 13 private prisons, less than 1 percent of the nation’s incarcerated population. Three companies control all of these prisons: Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the GEO Group, and Management and Training Corporation (MTC). To further compound the issue, 11 of these institutions are a special category of facility known as Criminal Alien Requirement (CAR) prisons. These house immigrants who have a criminal conviction. Often called “shadow prisons,” CAR facilities have been controversial in immigrants’ rights circles since their launch in 2005 as part of President Bush’s notoriously anti-immigrant policy known as Operation Streamline. The majority of those in CAR facilities are Latinos.

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Sanders, Grijalva asking for swift end to private prison use

(Brian Corn/The Wichita Eagle via AP)

Via KTAR.COM | August 22, 2016

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Raul M. Grijalva are looking for a swift resolution after Thursday’s decision by the Department of Justice to end the use of private prisons.

Sanders and Grijalva asked the Department of Homeland Security Monday to end use of the facilities according to a press release.

The two wrote a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

“Given the impact on detainees, the high cost to taxpayers and the Department of Justice’s recent decision, we believe the Department of Homeland Security can and should immediately begin phasing out for-profit, privately run immigration detention facilities. As each contract comes to the end of its term, the department should either decline to renew the contract or substantially reduce its scope.”

A move from the private prisons to community-based alternatives could save the federal government more than $1.4 billion a year.

Arizona has six for-profit prisons. Private prisons hold 12 percent of the prison population. The federal prison population, now at 193,299, has been dropping due to changes in federal sentencing policies over the past three years.

Week of Action to End the Detention Quota

Every year, the United States imprisons nearly half a million immigrants in detention centers across the country.

This mass detention is fueled by an inhumane federal policy known as the “detention quota,” which requires U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to maintain 34,000 spaces for immigrant detention every single day.

On August 18th, the government announced that it will no longer contract with for-profit companies to run federal prisons; it’s time for the government to abandon for-profit immigrant detention, too.  As long as Congress continues to mandate a detention quota, we will see more and more people funneled into this for-profit system of mass detention.

AFSC is hosting a week of action August 22- 25, continue reading to find out what you can do.

Ending private prisons at the federal level marks a major movement victory!

<> on May 4, 2015 in Boca Raton, Florida.Via Waging NonViolence

Sarah Aziza |August 19, 2016

When the U.S. Department of Justice announced its intentions to begin phasing out its use of private contractors in federal prisons, many welcomed this as a significant step in the dismantling of a profit-driven model of mass incarceration. The decision will affect over 20,000 inmates in 14 facilities across the country, and follows a slew of incriminating reports by Mother Jones, The Nation, and the DOJ itself, all of which noted serious security and human rights breaches in privately administered prisons.

While the announcement caused a major shake-up around the country — not least of which on Wall Street, where the stocks of the two largest private corrections companies plummeted — activists recognize years of tedious work that preceded the DOJ decision.

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