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Appeals Court Hears Arguments Against California Ban on For-Profit Prisons

Benjamin Purper

The 9th circuit court heard oral arguments in Pasadena Monday for a second attempt to overturn a new California law that phases out private, for-profit prisons and immigration detention centers. 

The appeal by the Biden Administration and GEO Group, one of the nation’s largest private prison companies, comes after a lawsuit by GEO and the Trump Administration failed last year.

That lawsuit was filed shortly before the state ban was set to go into effect, and after Immigration and Customs Enforcement singed long-term contracts worth billions of dollars with GEO and the other companies that run California’s four immigration detention centers.

Earlier this year, President Biden signed an executive order to end privately run prisons, but the order did not ban for-profit immigration detention centers.

Nationwide, these centers have been under increasing scrutiny. A USA Today investigation found thousands of documented grievances including allegations of sexual assault and medical neglect.