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Goodbye and good riddance to federal for-profit prisons. The industry’s well-documented lack of oversight and accountability, combined with its often-inhumane conditions, make it one of our country’s chief mass incarceration profiteers and peddlers of human misery. 

While for-profit prisons only account for a small percentage of the United States’ prison population, they have played an outsized role in lobbying to halt criminal justice reform and represent everything Arnold Ventures’ prison reform portfolio seeks to change about incarceration. We must shrink, not grow, the number of people incarcerated, both in public and private prisons; support the healing, education, and personal growth of those incarcerated to reduce recidivism and strengthen communities; and hold prisons accountable for their conditions and outcomes. We must reimagine a criminal justice system that recognizes and protects the inherent dignity of everyone involved.

While this executive order is something to celebrate, we urge federal and state governments to more squarely address the United States’ incarceration crisis by advancing comprehensive reforms to both public and private prison systems.