Warren pledges to ban private prisons

White House hopeful Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Top Senate Democrat backs waiver for Biden Pentagon nominee Consumer bureau director resigns after Biden's inauguration MORE (D-Mass.) on Friday announced she would ban private detention centers if elected president.

In a Medium post, Warren called for the abolition of private prisons and private immigration facilities "by ending all contracts that the Bureau of Prisons and ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] have with private detention providers."


The announcement comes on the eve of her participation in the National Association of Latino Elected Officials annual conference in Miami, where she'll appear alongside fellow Democratic presidential candidates like Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDemocrats swear in three senators to gain majority Congressional leaders present Biden, Harris with flags flown during inauguration LIVE INAUGURATION COVERAGE: Biden signs executive orders; press secretary holds first briefing MORE (D-Minn.), Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Sanders's inauguration look promptly gets a bobblehead Booker brings girlfriend, actress Rosario Dawson, to inauguration MORE (I-Vt.), Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellSwalwell compares Trump to bin Laden: They 'inspired and radicalized' Pelosi names 9 impeachment managers House Judiciary Democrats ask Pence to invoke 25th Amendment to remove Trump MORE (D-Calif.), former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeBoebert appears to carry gun on Capitol Hill in new ad 7 surprise moments from a tumultuous year in politics Mexican president breaks with other world leaders, refusing to acknowledge Biden win until election is finalized MORE (D-Texas), former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperSenate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes Democrats frustrated, GOP jubilant in Senate fight Chamber-endorsed Dems struggle on election night MORE, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Inauguration Day Biden faces tall order in uniting polarized nation OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate majority offers Biden new avenues on Trump environmental rollbacks | Democrats eye action on range of climate bills | Biden pushing to cancel Keystone XL pipeline as soon as he takes office: reports MORE.

In her proposal, Warren painted a picture of private detention facilities rife with corruption, mistreatment of inmates and support from lobbying efforts in Washington.

"We didn’t get here by chance. Washington works hand-in-hand with private prison companies, who spend millions on lobbyists, campaign contributions, and revolving-door hires — all to turn our criminal and immigration policies into ones that prioritize making them rich instead of keeping us safe," she wrote.

In November, Warren led a group of Democratic senators in demanding transparency from private prison operators.

Warren on Friday credited former President Obama with taking measures to wind down reliance on private prisons, but "these companies got their biggest break yet when Donald TrumpDonald TrumpClinton, Bush, Obama reflect on peaceful transition of power on Biden's Inauguration Day Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Biden reverses Trump's freeze on .4 billion in funds MORE landed in the White House."

"With Trump, private prison companies saw their chance to run the same playbook for our immigration system," she wrote.

According to an analysis of federal data by The New York Times, the number of minors in detention grew threefold from 2017 to 2018, due in part to the influx of migrants at the southern border but also because federal authorities have released fewer migrant minors to family care.

Warren accused the private prison system of abuses ranging from forced labor to price-gouging at commissaries, as well as violations of federal prison regulations like holding people in solitary confinement to make space for more inmates.

"This is exploitation, plain and simple. Our criminal and immigration systems are tearing apart communities of color and devastating the poor, including children," she wrote.

For-profit detention is a major issue for communities of color, particularly those where mixed immigration status is common.

Warren's announcement ahead of the conference in Miami comes as a new Quinnipiac poll shows her among a handful of Democratic contenders who are competitive against Trump in Florida, a key 2020 battleground.

Warren's campaign focus on releasing policy proposals on a variety of issues has so far proven effective, as she's risen to a solid third place behind former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenKaty Perry and her 'Firework' close out inauguration TV special Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Tom Hanks: After years of 'troubling rancor,' Inauguration Day 'is about witnessing the permanence of our American ideal' MORE and Sanders, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls.