Warren pledges to ban private prisons

White House hopeful Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenArizona Democratic Party executive board censures Sinema Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Biden stiff arms progressives on the Postal Service 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 KlobucharBipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law Wicker: Biden comments on Ukraine caused 'distress' for both parties Effort to overhaul archaic election law wins new momentum MORE (D-Minn.), Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Trump leads 2024 Republican field with DeSantis in distant second The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden faces Ukraine decision amid Russia aggression The Hill's Morning Report - US warns Kremlin, weighs more troops to Europe MORE (I-Vt.), Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellSwalwell slams House Republican for touting funding in bill she voted down There's no such thing as 'absolute immunity' for former presidents The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden strategizes with Senate Dems MORE (D-Calif.), former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeO'Rourke says he raised record .2M since launching campaign for Texas governor Eleven interesting races to watch in 2022 Cruz bullish on his 2024 chances: 'The runner-up is almost always the next nominee' MORE (D-Texas), former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperDemocrats race to squash Cruz's Nord Stream 2 sanctions bill Biden addresses Coloradans after wildfires: 'Incredible courage and resolve' Equilibrium/Sustainability — Mars may start 'terraforming itself' MORE, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks, Senate balks Airlines suspend US flights in response to 5G deployment AT&T, Verizon to delay 5G rollout near certain airports 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 TrumpFormer New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver dead at 77 Biden, Democrats losing ground with independent and suburban voters: poll Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law 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 BidenFox News reporter says Biden called him after 'son of a b----' remark Peloton responds after another TV character has a heart attack on one of its bikes Defense & National Security — Pentagon puts 8,500 troops on high alert MORE and Sanders, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls.