For Immediate Release

Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds Justice Department for Phasing Out Private Prisons

WASHINGTON - Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it would begin phasing out the use of private prisons:  

“Today’s announcement is a sign that the Department of Justice is taking the mass incarceration crisis seriously and is taking a more humane and budget-conscious approach to dealing with one of the country’s most intractable problems.

Ending these arrangements is good for the country and good for the future prospects of the 23,000 people incarcerated under these contracts. People in private prisons are more likely to be assaulted, have less access to basic rehabilitative services, and leave worse off than when they arrived.

This is also a positive indication that the smart-on-crime approach to fair sentencing is slowly shrinking the largest prison population in human history.

The Department of Homeland Security should follow the example set today by reducing its own prison population so it too can discontinue the use of private prisons.

We applaud this important announcement and the leadership of Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates for advancing the vision that our justice system can work better for all people.”


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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. Through advocacy and outreach to targeted constituencies, The Leadership Conference works toward the goal of a more open and just society – an America as good as its ideals.

The Leadership Conference is a 501(c)(4) organization that engages in legislative advocacy.  It was founded in 1950 and has coordinated national lobbying efforts on behalf of every major civil rights law since 1957.

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