“When it comes to private prisons, the impact of this order is going to be slight to none,” said John Pfaff, a professor of law at the Fordham University School of Law. “This is not about shrinking the footprint of the federal prison system, it’s just about transferring people to public facilities. Biden is telling an executive agency under his control what kind of contracts they can enter, that’s a core executive function of Biden’s.”
Few details have been released about the order scaling back private prison use, but the initial Obama-era policy focused on about a dozen privately-run facilities. The federal Bureau of Prisons said then that approximately 195,000 people were incarcerated in the bureau’s or private-contract facilities. Today, there are nearly 152,000 people incarcerated federally, with 14,000 housed at privately-managed facilities, according to The Associated Press.
A 2016 report by the Justice Department found that private prisons see high rates of assault, use of force incidents and lockdowns. With that, Biden said during a Tuesday press briefing that the policy is “the first step to stop corporations from profiting off of incarceration that is less humane and less safe.” He called it the beginning of his overall plan to address systemic problems in the criminal justice system.NBC Biden’s order terminates federal private prison contracts. Here’s what that means.