President Biden on Tuesday ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to phase out its use of private prisons.
The executive order, signed alongside three others as part of an effort to address racial inequality, largely returns the department to the policy adopted under the Obama administration.
“To decrease incarceration levels, we must reduce profit-based incentives to incarcerate by phasing out the federal government’s reliance on privately operated criminal detention facilities,” Biden wrote in the order.
The order directs DOJ not to renew any of the contracts with private prisons that house federal inmates, roughly 14,000 out of the 2 million people incarcerated in America.
Criminal justice reform advocates say the move is an important first step in reducing reliance on private prisons, which critics argue have little accountability and whose models are incompatible with efforts to rehabilitate offenders.