The incarceration of immigrants has skyrocketed under President Obama, allowing the private prison industry to rake in massive profits by locking up immigrants in facilities where they often face abuse, violence, unsanitary conditions, and lack of proper medical care.
The Department of Justice is phasing out the use of private prisons, saying that they are less safe, less secure, and less effective. But the Department of Homeland Security – which incarcerates immigrants hands out most of the federal government’s contracts to private prison companies – is continuing business as usual.
The DOJ’s decision is important because it shows that the Obama administration is starting to acknowledge that mass incarceration is out of control and that imprisoning people for profit can’t be justified. But unless we push President Obama to do more, it won’t make a difference for thousands of immigrants locked up in for-profit dungeons.