BREAKING: Historic New CA Law Bans Use of Inhumane For-Profit Prisons

For Immediate Release: October 11, 2019
Contact: Marie McIntosh,

BREAKING: Historic New CA Law Bans Use of Inhumane For-Profit Prisons  

Sacramento, CA—Today, Governor Newsom signed AB 32 into law, which, by 2028 will eliminate the role for-profit companies play in the state’s carceral system, effectively banning private prisons statewide. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), an advocacy group that supported AB 32’s passage in the California State Legislature, commends Gov. Newsom, Rep. Bonta, who sponsored the bill, and the grassroots organizations that supported this historic bill that disavows private prison companies, helps grow healthier communities, and sets a strong precedent for the nation.  

Under this law, private prisons in the state would be phased out by 2028 and all other private facilities—including immigration detention centers—would be unable to renew their contracts and eventually be phased out as well. 

The ILRC, in tandem with a coalition of nonprofits across the state, has worked at every turn to ensure the new legislation stops the private prison industry from profiting from the inhumane treatment of all Californians.  In 2017, the ILRC co-sponsored SB 29 and provided support on AB 103, which collectively pulled our local government and law enforcement out of any new immigration jail contracts (public or private). AB 32 takes the progress to the next level by eventually phasing out all private incarceration, criminal and civil. 

The state’s criminal legal system holds more than 183,928 people with another 5,000 in immigration detention. Many of these Californians and the majority of immigrants across the state and the nation are detained in private immigration facilities. AB 32 is a significant step in pushing back against mass incarceration in all of its forms.  

Said Grisel Ruiz, Supervising Attorney at the ILRC:

“By signing AB 32 into law, our state has now taken decisive action to remove a significant and insidious profit motivator from our carceral system. This intersectional, bipartisan bill incentivizes solutions which keep families together instead of separated by steel bars. This is not a call to turn to public jails, but rather a call to turn to community-based solutions which invest in people and not prisons.  

“California’s elected representatives have set a new high-water mark for others across the nation by refusing to offer new contracts to an unscrupulous private prison industry bent on profiting off a system of incarceration we know is weighted against black and brown communities. 

“The responsibility of states to their residents—to provide resources that support their well-being—is in direct conflict with corporations motivated by greed to put the most people behind bars at the least expense. We applaud Governor Newsom, Rep. Bonta, and the coalition of groups working together to realize a better future for all Californians. We hope that other communities and other states will demand the same.” 


The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, and policymakers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC protects and defends the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities.