Gavin Newsom Signs Bill Banning For-Profit Prisons, Immigration Detention Facilities

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. Newsom signed sweeping labor legislation that aims to give wage and benefit protections to rideshare drivers at companies like Uber and Lyft and to workers across other industries. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill Friday that will prohibit for-profit prisons and immigration detention centers from operating inside the state.

“AB 32 will prevent the state from entering into or renewing contracts with for-profit prison companies after Jan. 1, 2020, and phase out such facilities by 2028,” according to the Los Angeles Times. “The bill earned final approval from the Assembly on Sept. 11 by a vote of 65-11, a day after it cleared the Senate.”

Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), who authored the bill, said Friday that the bill’s signing was a historic moment.

“By ending the use of for-profit, private prisons and detention facilities, we are sending a powerful message that we vehemently oppose the practice of profiteering off the backs of Californians in custody, that we will stand up for the health, safety and welfare of our people, and that we are committed to humane treatment for all,” he said, adding that “AB 32 will be a model for others across the nation.”

On Saturday, Newsom announced the ban on Twitter:

The facilities that will be impacted by the new law currently house more than 1,400 inmates and 4,000 detainees, according to CBS News.

However, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesperson Paige D. Hughes warned that the ban will create more difficulty for ICE agents.

“The idea that a state law can bind the hands of a federal law enforcement agency managing a national network of detention facilities is wrong,” Hughes said. “In this situation, ICE will likely have to transfer individuals a greater distance from their arrest location to where they’d be detained.”

This summer, California ended its final out-of-state private prison contract when it moved 33 inmates from Arizona to an in-state facility, according to a Fox News report.

“The state has nearly 130,000 prison inmates, with another 82,220 in local jails. As of 2017, it spent $13.5 billion on correction expenditures annually,” the report concluded.


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