Statement from Silky Shah, Co-Director of Detention Watch Network, on news that the United States Justice Department plans to end its use of private prisons:
“We are encouraged by today’s announcement that the Justice Department plans to end their toxic relationship with the private prison industry. For far too long, private prison companies have treated people’s lives as profit in the mass incarceration system, stripping people of their dignity and leaving a trail of abuse and mismanagement in their wake.
Immigrant-only shadow prisons that are exclusively operated by private prison companies, such as The GEO Group, Inc. and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), have not only proven to be dangerous, but also deadly -- adding to an appalling record that the government can no longer ignore.
This should be a major turning point in the struggle against mass incarceration in the U.S. This is the first time that a federal agency issued a sweeping - and long overdue - rebuke to the private prison industry. It is time to take a hard look at the outsized role of incarceration in American society, which has shattered lives and communities across the country.
With this news, we call on the Department of Homeland Security to follow suit and break their ties with private prison companies that operate more than half of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) immigrant detention facilities as a step towards ending detention completely.”
Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the United States’ immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons. Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and national level to end immigration detention. Visit www.detentionwatchnetwork.org. Follow @DetentionWatch.