2018-09-05 / Features

Espinal Intro’s Legislation

Assembly Member Ari Espinal (D-Queens) introduced two new bills this week, in a criminal justice reform package banning the operation of private probation companies and for-profit prisons in New York State.

The first piece of legislation, The Predatory Probation Elimination Act of 2018, would ban the operation of private probation companies in New York State. While the private probation industry has seen a boom under President Trump, numerous studies have found that private probation supervision, wherein the individual must pay for-profit companies directly for rehabilitative services and supervision, disproportionately harms low-income people.

“We must take preventive measures in New York State to make sure that these greedy and opportunistic companies stay out of New York. Mass incarceration is a national crisis, and we must take action to eliminate practices and companies that benefit from it,” said Assembly Member Espinal.

The second bill, The Private Prison Elimination Act of 2018, would prohibit the state from leasing or granting state-owned property to be used for the operation of for-profit correctional facilities. While for-profit correction facilities are banned under New York State law, they still exist in the state, with a handful of federally operated for-profit facilities across New York. Espinal said these for-profit prisons have a well-documented history of allowing abusive conditions for inmates, covering up unethical behavior by staff members, and are ultimately costlier to the taxpayer than government run, not-for-profit facilities.

“With these two bills, we are one step closer to a criminal justice system predicated not on predatory profit motives, but the actual wellbeing of New Yorkers and their communities,” said Espinal. “Every New Yorker, incarcerated or not, is entitled to basic human dignity. Those who have served their time deserve a fair shot at a second chance, without being preyed upon by greedy corporations.”

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