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California bans private prisons and detention centers

California is cutting ties with the for-profit detainment sector. Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill Friday that will ban all new contracts and contract renewals with for-profit, private prisons starting January 1. 

California is the first state to enact a bill banning prisons of this nature, which also includes civil and immigration detention centers. Under the legislation, all existing contracts with for-profit, private prisons and detention centers will be phased out by 2028. 

The state currently has four contracts with for-profit, private prison companies for criminal detention and has four civil detention centers operated by for-profit, private companies.

Assemblymember Rob Bonta, who authored the bill, said in a press release that this is a "historic moment for California." 

"By ending the use of for-profit, private prisons and detention facilities, we are sending a powerful message that we vehemently oppose the practice of profiteering off the backs of Californians in custody, that we will stand up for the health, safety and welfare of our people, and that we are committed to humane treatment for all," he said.

The prisons and detention facilities impacted by the new law house more than 1,400 inmates and 4,000 detainees, respectively.

California Private Prisons
California is banning the use of for-profit, private detention facilities, including those the federal government uses for immigrants awaiting deportation hearings. Governor Gavin Newsom announced Friday, October 11, 2019 he had signed a measure into law that helps fulfill his promise to end the use of private prisons. Chris Carlson / AP

One of the nation's largest immigrant detention facilities, the Adelanto Detention Facility, will be phased out as part of the new legislation. CBS San Francisco previously reported on the facility's poor conditions.

In 2018, the Office of the Inspector General found that the conditions at Adelanto were "egregious." 

"The inspection at the Adelanto facility revealed significant health and safety risks, including nooses in detainee cells, improper and overly restrictive segregation, and inadequate detainee medical care," a report by the office noted. 

The new legislation is part of an ongoing process within the state to reform prison policies and facilities. The state has seen a decline in its inmate population and is on a path to end some mandatory sentences

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