This is a big deal. Finally, we seem to be making some headway back into rational thinking. Or… are we?
I’m not so sure. Granted, I’m naturally very skeptical, but I feel that I have reason to be. How many times has our government said it was going to do something, then just put some window dressing on it to make it appear different, when in reality nothing substantial changed at all? More times than I can count.
It’s outlined in this article from the Washington Post. Consider these quotes from the linked article:
Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced the decision on Thursday in a memo that instructs officials to either decline to renew the contracts for private prison operators when they expire or “substantially reduce” the contracts’ scope. The goal, Yates wrote, is “reducing — and ultimately ending — our use of privately operated prisons.”
Pablo Paez, a spokesman for GEO Group, said in a statement: “While our company was disappointed by today’s DOJ announcement, the impact of this decision on GEO is not imminent. As acknowledged in the announcement, the BOP will continue, on a case-by-case basis, to determine whether to extend contracts at the end of their contract period.”
Then there’s this quote which was in a previous version of this article, but seems to have been removed when they updated it (the article seems to change constantly, I’ve seen at least three updates so far, for whatever that’s worth)…
“The privately run facilities will not close overnight. Yates said the Justice Department would not terminate existing contracts but instead review those that come up for renewal. She said all the contracts would come up for renewal over the next five years.”
These loopholes are HUGE. Granted, there is something in there about one contract already having been declined to be renewed, but I need to see a more definitive commitment. It’s precisely the contracts that worry me. We may not enter into brand new contracts, but this leaves the door open to still renewing existing contracts, which is exactly what I believe will happen in the vast majority of the cases. The corporations are not going to give up their revenue without a fight, and Congress will have something to say about it, and these corporations lobby Congress heavily.
I would love to see this actually happen, but I’ll believe it when I see it.