San Quentin opened in 1852 as the first for-proit jail – it is now state owned
San Quentin opened in 1852 as the first for-proit jail – it is now state owned

Has the cell door slammed on private prisons?

27 September 2016

The announcement in August by the US Department of Justice that it would stop using private prisons because an inspector’s report found they were more dangerous and full of contraband than public sector run jails looks like a watershed for the industry.

The US is the largest and longest established market for private prisons – the first for-profit jail, San Quentin, was opened in 1852 (it is now state owned). The widespread privatisation of penitentiaries started in the 1980s, driven by President Ronald Reagan’s two ‘wars’, on big government and drugs, which dramatically increased the prison population. 

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