Bonta Legislation Will Phase Out Use of Private Prisons

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Legislation Bars Corporate Profiting From Imprisoning Californians

(Sacramento, CA) – Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) has introduced legislation that will put an end to private companies making a profit from incarcerating Californians. AB 1320 will prohibit the renewal of state government contracts with for-profit prisons by 2018 and remove all state prison inmates from these facilities by 2028.

"The built-in incentives are all wrong," said Bonta. "A private for-profit company that's traded on Wall Street inherently will try to maximize profits and minimize costs through warehousing our inmates. They have a duty to shareholders, not to California," Bonta said.

California houses more than 9,000 inmates in ten privately-operated, for-profit prisons, including two located out-of-state in Arizona and Mississippi. For the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the Governor has proposed to set aside $247,053 million for contracted private, for-profit correctional facilities.

"Defenders of for-profit private prisons will say they are cost effective. So is child labor, but it's still wrong. In California, we put our money where our values are, even if it may cost a little more," Bonta said.

According to a 2012 report by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the state has one of the highest recidivism rates with 54% of former prisoners returning back into the system within three years.

"Their businesses flourish by having more people behind bars. For-profit prisons have no real incentive to invest in the human capital of our prisoners. AB 1320 will help to redirect our criminal justice system to value and prioritize effective rehabilitative programs, which will ideally minimize recidivism rates and maximize successes for inmates upon their reentry into society," Bonta said.

AB 1320 has been referred to the Assembly Public Safety Committee and can be set for a hearing as early as next month.

Assemblymember Rob Bonta represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro and is the Assistant Majority Leader and Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander (API) Legislative Caucus.