By Sonam Hundal
OAKLAND—California Attorney General Rob Bonta has filed a petition that defends the state’s ban on for-profit private prisons and detention facilities – Bonta was the “lead author of [Assembly Bill] 32” which was set in place to offer protections to people in custody in California.
Former state lawmaker Bonta said he’s “proud” (to) defend the law” because he believes “for-profit, private prisons and detention facilities [treat] people like commodities [and] pose an unacceptable risk to the health and welfare of Californians.” He also made a point to state that this law puts the people first, not profits.
Attorney General Bonta explained why he wants the Ninth Circuit to make his case, claiming that “California will continue to press forward to ensure the dignity and rights of everyone in our state are protected.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state’s “private prisons have turned a profit at the expense of Californians” for quite some time. Newsom added he is “proud that California is leading the effort to eliminate for-profit prisons” because they don’t “reflect the values of our state and disproportionately [impact] minority and low-income communities.”
The Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Justice found that people housed in private prisons are exposed to unsafe environments. The report also revealed such federal detention facilities have a “lack of transparency and accountability, create unfair and exploitative conditions for detained individuals, and prioritize profits over rehabilitation and the well-being of those in detention.”
Such claims of lack of safety and security had been made years prior as well, in 2016 by the U.S. Department of Justice. However, the federal administration decided not to act on said claims.
It wasn’t until recently that the federal administration decided to set a plan in motion to end the use of private prisons via an executive order.
Assembly Bill 32, in California, is designed to address private prisons and protect the health and safety of those in the state.