Today, on August 18th 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice announced they will not renew its contracts with any private, for-profit prison corporations. While it will only impact 195,000 inmates (quite shy of the 2.2 million currently incarcerated in the USA), this is a monumental decision in favor of those fighting against these privately controlled prisons. Activists and Wall Street agree that this could be the first domino to fall, with two of the three companies stocks dropping 40% in the wake of the decision.
Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates released the findings of the the DOJ’s investigation, on Thursday. In blistering form she tore apart the conditions and the overall lack of any real positive impact these for profit prisons have on inmates. One of the biggest reasons this is such a big deal is that these corporations are some of the biggest roadblocks to legalization of marijuana on a federal scale. They spend millions a year in lobbying against reduced sentencing for minor offenses i.e marijuana crimes.
With this decision the fear of going to these prisons could decrease, which could increase the marijuana black market. The number of marijuana advocates would increase, and thus could lead to normalization. Now, all of this is speculation, of course…but, federal legalization of marijuana is the ultimate goal and this could just be a very strong strike against the opposition.