Saturday, 3 September 2016

US retreating from penal privatisation

It has already been pointed out that Conservative ministers pushed ahead with directly-elected police commissioners at the same time as the last such post was being abolished in the United States. Now, according to a report in Private Eye magazine,  the US administration has seen the light over private prisons.

It quotes a verdict by the Department of Justice's inspector-general that private prisons were more dangerous places than the 85% of institutions which remained under federal control, As a result, the deputy attorney-general Sally Yates announced on 18th August that private prisons would be phased out. "She ordered the US Prisons Bureau to 'decline to renew' private prison contracts because they are not as good as state-run jails and 'do not save substantially on costs'", the PE asserts.

The article says nothing about the departments of correction of individual states, where privatisation has a more substantial foothold. However, the federal decision may well influence state policy. It should certainly make HM government pause in its rush to privatisation, in view of the evidence already available from our own private prisons cited by Private Eye.

It is also another good reason to press for devolution of prison policy to Cardiff.

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