Bureau to Reduce Use of Private Prisons

Deputy Attorney General Yates announces decision

Reduce Use of Private Prisons

(BOP) - On August 18, 2016, Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates directed the Bureau of Prisons to reduce and ultimately eliminate the use of privately operated prisons. In a memorandum to Acting Director Thomas Kane, Deputy Attorney General Yates indicated that as each contract with private prison companies reaches the end of its term, "the Bureau should either decline to renew that contract or substantially reduce its scope in a manner consistent with law and the overall decline of the Bureau's inmate population." The Bureau's population has declined by nearly 12,500 inmates in FY 2016, and we expect an additional decrease of 1,975 in FY 2017.

The President's FY 2017 Budget request reduces contract confinement by $211 million. As a result, the Bureau is amending an existing contract solicitation to reduce an upcoming contract award from a maximum of 10,800 beds to a maximum of 3,600. Additionally, the Bureau recently decided not to exercise an option on a contract for approximately 1,200 beds in Cibola, NM. As a result, by May 1, 2017, the Bureau will have reduced the number of inmates in private prisons to 14,200 inmates; this represents more than a 50 percent decrease as compared to 2013.

Yates said, "(reducing the use of privately operated prisons) would be neither possible nor desirable without the Bureau's superb and consistent work at our own facilities. I am grateful for the tremendous and often unheralded work done by Bureau staff. When a higher proportion of America's prison population benefits from those efforts, we will improve outcomes for them, for law enforcement, and for the wider community we serve."

The memorandum is accessible on the Department of Justice website here. The "Phasing Out Our Use of Private Prisons" Justice Blog can be found here.