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Prison Reform under Trump?



<> on November 8, 2016 in New York City.

What do we know about our future president’s policies on prison reform. We do know that private prison’s stocks sky rocketed the day after he was elected. CoreCivic’s (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) shares increased 43 percent. Private prison’s stocks had fallen over the last 18 months after government reports revealed inadequate services for insubstantial savings. Under the Obama administration, the government was eliminating federal private prisons.

The Office of Inspector General released a report in August which stated:

“Our analysis of data on safety and security indicators found that contract prisons had more incidents per capita than BOP institutions in three quarters of the categories we examined…” The Justice Department concluded that federal private prisons were less safe, secure, and did not save substantial money. This decision does not apply yet to immigration detention facilities or private state prisons.

State private prisons were also having problems. Ohio is an example of the ineffectiveness of state private prisons. In 2011, Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison company in the United States, started managing the Lake Erie Correctional Institution. By 2012, Ohio state audits revealed inadequate staffing, negligent medical treatment, and “unacceptable living conditions” inside the prison. The deplorable conditions included inmates lacking access to running water and toilets. Because of the violations,Ohio docked the company nearly $500,000.

Colorado and Mississippi are ending their use of private prisons.

“I do think we can do a lot of privatizations and private prisons. It seems to work a lot better,” Trump told MSNBC in March.

We do know that President elect Trump campaigned on deporting millions of illegal immigrants which means more prisoners and more prisons.

We already have almost 2.4 million inmates in our local, state, and federal jails-prisons. During the last decade, studies have shown too many low level drug offenders received lengthy sentences under harsh laws that started with our so called, “War on Drugs.” Excessive sentences was one factor creating our mass incarceration crisis.

President-elect Trump picked Alabama Senator Sessions for attorney general. Senator Sessions was one of the few Republican senators who blocked a bipartisan bill that would reduce lengthy sentences for low-level drug offenders.

It has only been 3 weeks since the election, but the signs do not look good for criminal justice reform.

By: Brad Schwartz
Founder of

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