Private, for-profit prisons have failed. They cost taxpayers more than public prisons, are less safe for prisoners (the one private prison in Idaho has 4 times the number of prisoner-on-prisoner assaults than the seven public prisons in the state combined), have had repeated scandals (including one where judges were bribed by the prisons in exchange for harsher sentences on juveniles in order to increase the need for more prisons), and spend tons of money lobbying state and local governments to pass harsher sentences (like three strikes) and criminalizing more things.
The fundamental problem is that as a for-profit corporation, private prisons have to be profitable. There is double the incentive to not rehabilitate prisoners because the cost of rehabilitation programs reduce current profits, and a rehabilitated former prisoner is no longer a source of future profits. You end up with a system that is rewarded if they produce more criminals!
The Obama administration was trying to phase out private prisons, but it should come as no surprise that the Trump administration has just reversed that. In addition, “the use of private prisons is expected to surge under President Trump’s promised crackdown on illegal immigration.”
Just in case there was any doubt about the racist intent of this, White House spokesperson Sean Spicer said on Wednesday that the Justice Department (under racist Attorney General Jeff Sessions) will step up enforcement of federal marijuana laws, even in states that have legalized recreational use. Over half the inmates in federal prisons are there for drug offenses, with the majority of those for marijuana. And minorities (especially blacks) are many times more likely to be arrested for marijuana use than whites.
Also published on Medium.