For Immediate Release: September 16, 2019
Contact: Marie McIntosh, media [at] ilrc.org
California’s Historic Move to End State Support of Private Prisons Must be Signed into Law by Gov. Newsom, Urges ILRC
Sacramento, CA—The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) applauds the passage of Assembly Bill 32 in the California State Legislature and strongly urges Governor Newsom to sign this historic bill that would disavow private prison companies, support the growth of healthier communities, and set a strong precedent for the nation.
Under this bill, it will be unlawful to operate a private prison in the state of California. Private prisons in the state would be phased out by 2028 and all other private facilities—including immigration detention—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.
California’s criminal 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.
Said Grisel Ruiz, Supervising Attorney at the ILRC:
“A bill this expansive is the first of its kind in the nation and stands strongly in resistance to our country’s history of overreliance on mass incarceration, which has only increased under the current administration. We need to abolish inhumane for-profit cages, civil and criminal, as a step toward pushing back on all mass incarceration. Focusing on developing and implementing more community-led alternatives to incarceration—in both the criminal and immigration setting—will help keep families together and communities thriving.
“Eradicating private, for-profit prisons in California through AB 32 is essential to stopping facilities that confine and abuse people behind bars. By uprooting and dismantling this entrenched system, states like California can set a new standard for the rest of the country by passing legislation that tackles two of the greatest drivers of mass incarceration—criminal and immigration detention—exacerbated by the profit-driven private prison industry. We can create safer and healthier communities if we stop criminalizing our neighbors, separating them from their families, then dehumanizing and abusing them in detention.
“AB 32 shows that states can pioneer strategies and solutions to achieve true, lasting social change. We look to Governor Newsom for his leadership in sealing this bipartisan deal and to other state governments to build upon the California legislature’s progress to end this cruel and unjust system.”
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.