STATEMENT FROM FORMERLY INCARCERATED CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM ADVOCATE, GLENN E. MARTIN ON THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT’S DECISION TO END THE USE OF PRIVATE PRISONS
Thursday, August 18, 2016 (New York) – Glenn E. Martin, founder and President of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA) issued the following statement in response to the recent announcement by the Department of Justice.
JustLeadershipUSA welcomes the US Department of Justice’s decision to end its reliance on private prisons. The growth of the private prison industry into a multi-billion dollar enterprise is one of the most toxic byproducts of the ‘war on drugs.’ The rapid and explosive growth of the country’s prison population during the 1980s and 1990s produced a need for an ever increasing number of prison beds, and this need gave rise to what amounted to the monetization of misery as companies like the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group were quick to cash in.
Numerous lawsuits have been filed against CCA, GEO, and other companies charging unconstitutional prison conditions such as lack of medical care, forced labor, and excessive use of force and solitary confinement. Just as insidious, private prisons have an economic incentive to maximize the number of days served by each person sentenced to its custody by meting out excessive infractions and thereby preventing earlier release. That is why my organization and others in the criminal justice reform movement have been urging disinvestment in the private prison industry.
Today, as the nation is reevaluating its disastrous over-reliance on punishment and incarceration, the Justice Department’s divorce from the private prison industry is an important and laudable step in the right direction.
– Glenn E. Martin, founder and President, JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA)
GLENN E. MARTIN is the Founder and President of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA), an organization dedicated to cutting the US correctional population in half by 2030. JLUSA empowers people most affected by incarceration to drive policy reform. Glenn is a national leader and criminal justice reform advocate who spent six years in New York State prisons. Prior to founding JLUSA, Glenn served for seven years as Vice President of Development and Public Affairs at The Fortune Society, one of the most respected reentry organizations in the country and six years as Co-Director of the National HIRE Network at the Legal Action Center. For more information visit: www.jlusa.org
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