Sanders, Grijalva Ask DHS to End Private Prison Use

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 – Following the Department of Justice’s recent decision to end its use of private prisons, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) asked the Department of Homeland Security Monday to end its use of private, for-profit detention facilities.

“Given the impact on detainees, the high cost to taxpayers and the Department of Justice’s recent decision, we believe the Department of Homeland Security can and should immediately begin phasing out for-profit, privately run immigration detention facilities,” Sanders and Grijalva wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. “As each contract comes to the end of its term, the department should either decline to renew the contract or substantially reduce its scope.”

Community-based alternatives to detention are more cost-effective and provide the necessary resources to ensure undocumented immigrants complete immigration proceedings. Individuals in alternatives to detention appear in court 99 percent of the time and comply with removal 84 percent of the time. Increasing the use of alternatives to detention could save the federal government more than $1.4 billion a year. 

Sanders and Grijlava introduced legislation last year with Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) to ban private prisons.

To read the letter, click here.