Trump Reversal on Private Prisons a 'Reward': Sanders

For campaign donors, senator says after Sessions memo reverses Obama order
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2017 1:00 AM CST

(Newser) – This is why shares in private prisons soared after President Trump's election win: His administration, in a widely expected move, has scrapped the Obama administration's plan to phase out the federal government's use of private prisons, reports Reuters. In a memo from Attorney General Jeff Sessions released Thursday, the Aug. 16 order for the Bureau of Prisons to scale back or not renew contracts with privately operated prisons was rescinded, the Hill reports. Sessions said the previous order "impaired the Bureau's ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system."

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Bernie Sanders slammed the move as a "reward" for prison contractors that donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Trump's campaign, Politico reports. "At a time when we already have more people behind bars than any other country, Trump just opened the floodgates for private prisons to make huge profits by building more prisons and keeping even more Americans in jail," he said in a statement. The Justice Department says the Bureau of Prisons, which began using private companies in 1997, currently has contracts with 12 privately run prisons housing around 22,000 inmates. (Read more private prisons stories.)

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