LOS ANGELES, CA. – On Friday California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 32, a piece of legislation that effectively phases out the use of private prisons in the state beginning on January 1, 2020. Freedom for Immigrants applauds Gov. Newsom for putting people over profits and continuing to make California a model state in the movement to abolish immigration detention.
AB 32 is one of the most progressive and far-reaching bills on immigration detention ever made in the United States. It prevents private prison companies from directly contracting with ICE to perpetuate a profit-driven and abuse-ridden system of mass incarceration. Under the law, California will not be able to enter into new contracts with private prisons for criminal custody nor modify or extend them. It also prohibits ICE from contracting, modifying, or extending a current contract with a private prison.
Under AB 32, all four of the remaining detention facilities in California could close as early as 2020. This includes Mesa Verde, Otay, Calexico, and Adelanto, the latter of which the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General has described as having a complete “disregard for detainee health and safety” in a scathing 2018 report. All four of those contracts will expire by the end of next year, with the final one, Calexico, set to end in September 2020.
The Yuba County Jail will hold the last remaining contract with ICE in the state, but due to a state budget provision spearheaded by Freedom for Immigrants in 2017, it cannot be expanded.