- The Washington Times - Friday, October 11, 2019

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a new law Friday that will eventually ban privately operated prisons and jails, including immigration detention centers, in a move that could put a strain on Homeland Security’s ability to hold illegal immigrants.

The law will initially block any new contracts between California jurisdictions and for-profit facilities. By 2028, the state will be banned from using private facilities altogether.

Supporters said they also believe the law will shut down several private prisons that rent thousands of beds each day to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, making a major dent in the government’s ability to hold people.

“These for-profit prisons do not reflect our values,” Mr. Newsom said in announcing his signature.

Criminal justice reformers have crusaded for years for governments to cut ties with privately run facilities, arguing they are more dangerous and less humane for those incarcerated within.

The Obama administration, in its waning days, issued a policy attempting to cut Justice Department ties with private prisons — though Homeland Security rejected the move, saying it still considered private detention facilities a critical part of the immigration system.

ICE on any given day maintains more than 40,000 detention beds for migrants, some of whom are awaiting their deportation court proceedings and others who have already been ordered removed and are waiting for travel clearance and a flight home.

The majority of those beds are rented from private facilities, with perhaps 4,000 in California.

Those who pushed the new law in California say that ICE’s contracts with the facilities expire next year, and the ban on new contracts means ICE won’t be able to renew its ties with the prisons.

Illinois enacted its own ban on private immigration detention facilities earlier this year.

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