Open the Government and the ACLU co-hosted a briefing at the Russell Senate Office Building to discuss the lack of accountability surrounding private prisons, jails, and detention centers that house federal inmates. After sharing opening remarks at the event, Senator Ben Cardin officially introduced S. 2773, the Private Prison Information Act (PPIA), which would mandate private prisons with federal inmates and detainees be bound by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
For several years, a coalition of organizations, including OTG, dedicated to openness and accountability, civil liberties, human rights and civil rights have called on to Congress to demand transparency from private prisons that contract with the federal government.
Following opening remarks from Senator Patrick Leahy, a co-sponsor of the bill, OTG’s executive director, Lisa Rosenberg, moderated a panel of guest speakers and experts in the field, including: Eunice Cho, senior staff attorney at ACLU’s National Prison Project and Mia Woodard, legislative affairs and policy counsel at CREW.
“For-profit prisons should no longer be able to use their status as private entities to bypass the public access and information laws with which federal prisons must comply,” said Rosenberg of the bill.
“The PPIA will help close this FOIA loophole and mitigate waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars by holding corporations accountable for their contractual obligations to the federal government.”
Watch a live stream of the event here.
Learn more about Cardin introducing the PPlA here.