Private Prisons

WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO

Prisoner hands on jail bars

AB 32 would end the state’s use of private, for-profit prisons and immigration detention facilities. The bill by Oakland Assemblyman Rob Bonta, a Democrat, would prohibit the state from entering into new such contracts or renewing old ones starting Jan.1. These facilities would then have until 2028 to shut down. 

WHO SUPPORTS IT? 

An unlikely alliance of civil liberties and immigration-rights groups, progressive activists and the union of guards in state-run prisons.

WHO’S OPPOSED?

The state’s sheriffs, who fear that nixing private prisons might force the state to release more inmates early or offload them onto county jails.

WHY IT MATTERS 

Though the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has said it plans to gradually phase out use of private facilities, it maintains contracts with four — all of which are operated by the publicly traded corporation GEO Group. Private immigration facilities have long been in the crosshairs of liberal lawmakers. In 2017, then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill placing a moratorium on new contracts between local governments and privately run jails.

GOVERNOR’S CALL 

In his inaugural address, Gov. Newsom vowed to “end the outrage of private prisons once and for all.”  On Oct. 11, 2019, he signed the legislation, saying that “these for-profit prisons do not reflect our values.”