1. Statement
  2. Criminal Justice, Immigrants & Refugees

FCNL Applauds Justice Department Phasing Out Private Prisons

By Hannah Graf Evans, José Santos Woss, August 18, 2016


The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) applauds the Department of Justice (DOJ) announcement that it will phase out contracts with private prison corporations.

We welcome their acknowledgement of private prison facilities’ substandard conditions and inadequate oversight. Government must ensure that detention facilities provide humane conditions and basic rights.

Today’s announcement marks a very important step in the right direction to end mass incarceration, which will require overcoming resistance from those in the business of detention. We need to holistically address the needs of those in the criminal justice and immigration system.

Profit-making has no legitimate place in the criminal justice system; we oppose privatized detention facilities.

However, this action by DOJ does not address the majority of private prison contracts in the United States. Most federal contracts with private prison corporations are through the Department of Homeland Security for the purpose of detaining immigrants. This new guidance also will not affect the many state contracts with private prison corporations. Private prisons are most numerous at the state level, where the problem of mass incarceration is most serious.

FCNL urges all state and federal agencies to follow suit, and end every contract with private prison corporations. The FCNL Policy Document, The World We Seek, states, “Profit-making has no legitimate place in the criminal justice system; we oppose privatized detention facilities.”

By working to end the profit motive behind policies that exacerbate mass incarceration, we are better prepared to determine smart, safe, restorative, and just policies.

Hannah Graf Evans

  • Former Legislative Representative, Immigration and Refugee Policy

Hannah Graf Evans led FCNL's lobbying for compassionate immigration and refugee policies, with a particular focus on detention practices, the rights of border communities, and protection of vulnerable communities. Hannah served as co-chair of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition steering committee for three years.

José Santos Woss

  • Legislative Manager, Criminal Justice and Election Integrity

José is the Legislative Manager for Criminal Justice and Election Integrity. He leads FCNL’s work on criminal justice reform, election integrity, and policing. He helps to lead the Interfaith Criminal Justice Coalition, an alliance of more than 40 national faith groups advocating to end mass incarceration.