CA lawmakers pass bill that bans use of private prisons, detention centers

Bay Area

SACRAMENTO (KRON) — “They’re literally profiteering on the backs of Californians and treating them like commodities instead of like people,” Rob Bonta said.

In a 65-11 vote Wednesday, lawmakers in the California state assembly passed bill 32 — banning the use of private for-profit prisons and detention centers in the state. 

Bay Area assembly member Rob Bonta authored the bill. 

He said it was time to stand up for Californians.

“There is study after study, that shows on every metric, for-profit private prisons do worse than gov run,” Bonta said.

“Some of these detention centers are known to be the most deadly to undocumented immigrants,” Juan Prieto said.

The bill also applies to for-profit detention centers operated by ICE. 

The California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance feels this is a step in the right direction. 

“This bill really championed the solidarity we felt that needed to happen between criminal justice and immigrant rights,” Prieto said. “What a better place to do it than California.”

The GEO Group runs four private prisons in California. 

In a statement, they call themselves an innovator in the field of rehabilitative services, they say AB 32 works against the state’s proposition 57 anti-recidivism goals. 

But Bonta disagrees. 

“They’re not providing programs and services and rehab to reduce recidivism,” he said. “They’re just literally warehousing Californians, and all they care about is how much money they make and what their profit report is the next quarter.”

If Governor Newsom signs the bill into law — existing contracts with private prisons would be allowed to run their course. 

Bonta said the last one with GEO group ends in 2023. 

The governor has until Oct. 13 to sign.

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