California AB 32 Introduced to End Private, For-Profit Incarceration in the State


January 24, 2019

"There is simply no place for the private prison industry in a progressive state like California," announced state Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego).

Thomas Soerenes—The News Tribune/AP

Thomas Soerenes—The News Tribune/AP

That’s why she and other California elected officials are supporting Assembly Bill (AB) 32, authored by Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), to prohibit the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) from entering into or renewing contracts with private, for-profit prisons beginning January 1, 2020.

“For-profit prisons do not serve the best interests of Californians, nor are they in line with our values. No one should profit off human incarceration, especially after we have refocused our corrections system away from incarceration and towards rehabilitation,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego).

In addition to prohibiting the CDCR from entering into or renewing contracts with a private, for-profit prison, all state prison inmates would need to be moved out of existing private, for-profit prison facilities no later than January 1, 2028.

Private prisons are considered a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States. Currently 27 states, including California, have private prisons.

“A private, for-profit company that’s traded on Wall Street will inherently be incentivized to maximize profits and minimize costs—including the important ‘costs’ of investments in programs, services and rehabilitation efforts for inmates—through warehousing our inmates. They have a duty to shareholders, not to California,” Bonta said.

AB 32 is joint-authored by Assemblymembers Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), David Chiu (D-San Francisco), and Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego).

"With one of the highest recidivism rates in the country, California needs to invest in rehabilitation, not corporate profits," said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco). "Private, for-profit prisons have a duty to their corporate shareholders to return large profits at every turn, which makes it nearly impossible to spend the resources necessary to genuinely rehabilitate someone. I applaud Assemblymember Bonta for working to phase out this harmful industry in California."

The bill will appear before the California State Assembly Committee on Public Safety this year, where it has a chance of passing to a full vote on the Assembly floor.

Unite the People is urging Californians to contact each member of the Committee on Public Safety by phone and email, and sign the petition to bring AB 32 to the full Assembly’s attention.

Judson Parker