Bonta Applauds Return of Last CA Inmates from Out-of-State, For-Profit, Private Prisons; Announces Significant Expansion of AB 32

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Amendments Will Prohibit For-Profit, Private Detention Facilities

SACRAMENTO - Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) today welcomed news of the return of the last out-of-state California inmates from a for-profit, private prison in Arizona.

“As the author of AB 32, I’m grateful to see the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Administration carry out the established timeline to bring California inmates home,” said Bonta. “For-profit, private prisons are not the solution. These companies have a duty to their shareholders, not to California,” Bonta said. “Just look at the conflicted incentives: A for-profit, private company that’s traded on Wall Street will inherently be incentivized to maximize profits and minimize costs—including the important “costs” of investments in programs, services and rehabilitation efforts for inmates. These programs will minimize recidivism rates and maximize successes for inmates upon their reentry into society, outcomes best achieved in facilities run by governments.”

AB 32, which will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 2, would prohibit the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from entering into a contract or renewing a contract with a for-profit, private prison facility located in or outside of the state, on or after January 1, 2020, and completely phase-out their use by 2028.

On Tuesday, Bonta introduced major amendments to AB 32 that would expand the scope of the bill to provide a general ban of for-profit, private detention facilities in California—including facilities used for immigration holds among other types of detention.

“We’ve all seen the current humanitarian crisis play out along the southern border. No human being deserves to be held in the horrific conditions we’ve been seeing in these for-profit, private facilities. It’s clearly not enough to focus our legislation on prisons alone,” Bonta said.

These reprehensible conditions are not limited to Texas and other states. For-profit, private detention facilities in California have similar conditions that have been documented by the California Department of Justice.  

“We must address the complete scope of what’s going on in these Wall Street-run corporate detention facilities. California should not be home to companies that are profiteering from the tearing of innocent children from their families. This is inhumane and goes against who we are as Californians and Americans,” Bonta said.

“It’s time California takes a stronger stand for the humane treatment of those being detained or incarcerated in our state and be a model for others across the nation,” Bonta said. “We are better than this and we cannot and must not be silent during this inflection moment in our history.”

Assemblymember Rob Bonta represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro and is the Assistant Majority Leader.