jeff sessions rescinds obama-era order that aimed to phase out use of private prisons

February 24, 2017

Private prisons are modern day slavery. Private companies use inmates as free and cheap labor and profit from their bodies. Private prisons are unconstitutional and President Obama took a stand against them during his presidency, committing to reduce the federal government’s reliance on them and eradicate them over time. But as we know, President Obama is president no more and the current administration is just two generations removed from the slaveowners and outright racists they aspire to be, so new Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the order to phase out private prisons this week. Mind you, Jeff Sessions was originally precluded from being a federal judge for the reputation for racism and bigotry that he developed in the 60s, to the extent that Coretta Scott King wrote a letter urging Congress not allow his installment, resulting in him not being confirmed. Now in his first major act as attorney general, he’s attacking Black, Latinx, poor and LGBTQ people, because each of these marginalized communities are criminalized by law enforcement and are more likely to end up behind bars. This is a huge blow to the prison abolition movement, an incentive for the greedy hearts of men who would capitalize on those who are imprisoned, and the perfect atmosphere for the school-to-prison pipeline. This should terrify us all. It should make us livid and feel like there is nothing is more important (although, at this rate, the presidency has given us so many causes to take up, that everything is dire). As tiring as it gets, we have to keep fighting to keep these policies from adversely affecting women, people of color, queer people of color, trans people of color and the socioeconomically disenfranchised. We have to affirm that Black Lives Matter and Trans Lives Matter in our actions and organizations. We’ve got to stay focused and fight. And though the battle is never truly over, we will win.

By T. McLendon, AFROPUNK Contributor