WASHINGTON D.C. – Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) today re-introduced legislation that bans private prisons & private detention centers, private transportation, ends family detention, and removes Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) daily mandate to fill 34,000 beds with detainees. The Justice Is Not For Sale Act, also reinstates the federal parole system, requires ICE to improve monitoring of detention facilities, requires ICE to use Alternatives to Detention, and increases oversight to prevent companies from overcharging inmates and their families for services like banking and telephone calls.
“The mass incarceration policies in this country that award and incentivize detaining individuals has been detrimental to communities of color and severely tainted our judicial system,” Rep Grijalva said. “To continue to detain and incarcerate men, women, and children in masses simply because doing so increases the profit margins for the already overly-inflated prison industry goes against our basic principles. Private prisons have consistently been found to be more costly and less humane.
“Under President Obama, we welcomed news that the Department of Justice would be phasing out its use of private prisons. Yet the Trump administration has ensured our policies take several steps back. There is a cob-web of connections between Trump’s administration, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and private prison entities that generously contributed to his presidential campaign. Therefore, it comes as no surprise this Administration’s overzealous approach to incarcerating individuals for profit. All this leads to concerns about the continual use and abuse of our correctional systems. It is time to close this chapter of our immoral and corrupt prison system.”
The Justice Is Not For Sale Act, enacts key reforms of our federal, state, and local correctional facilities so individuals aren’t treated simply as profit tokens.
Among its key reforms:
- It bars federal, state and local government from contracting with private entities to provide and/or operate prisons and detention centers within 2 years.
- Additionally, it bars government contracts with private entities to transport individuals for the purpose of disciplining given that multiple investigations of these companies have resulted in wrongful deaths, prisoner abuse, sexual assault, and medical negligence.
- Reinstates the federal parole system for individuals on a case-by-case basis, alleviating federal prison over-capacity
- Increases oversight to protect detainees against unfair practices and unreasonable fees for banking and telecommunications services.
- Ends ICE’s 34,000 detention quota
- Requires ICE to improve the monitoring of detention facilities to ensure humane treatment of detainees
- Ends immigrant family detention facilities, which currently detain children and women.
Original co-sponsors are Reps. Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Bobby Rush (D-IL), José E. Serrano (D-NY), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), James McGovern (D-MA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).
Full text of the bill can be found here.