President Biden signed an executive order last Tuesday which seeks to eliminate the use of private prisons for federal prisoners. The order – which directs the Department of Justice but not the Department of Homeland Security to not renew contracts with private prisons – was aimed at focusing on “racial equity.” It was one of 37 others that President Biden signed in his first week in office, marking the most in U.S. history.
“This is just the beginning of my administration’s plan to address systemic problems in our criminal justice system.”President Joe Biden
The Left supports the executive order but calls for greater measures to be taken. “The Biden administration has taken a huge step forward by working to end the use of private prisons — but we need to go further,” stated Washington D.C. Democratic Representative Pramila Jayapal, who called on the president to also end the use of private immigrant detention centers. Julián Castro, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, seconded this, tweeting, “We must eliminate the financial incentive to incarcerate and detain people. Kudos to @JoeBiden for swiftly ending DOJ contracts with private prisons. I’m confident the new administration will work to end for-profit immigration detention, as well.”
“The order signed today is an important first step toward acknowledging the harm that has been caused and taking actions to repair it, but President Biden has an obligation to do more, especially given his history and promises.”David Fathi, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) stated, “Attaching a profit motive to imprisonment will always be unconscionable.”
The Right’s criticism has been focused on the sheer number and vastness of Biden’s executive orders. Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) called the orders “an attempt to basically govern the country be executive fiat. I think it’s very, very dangerous…It’s breathtaking that he’s trying to do it without any democratic debate or legislation.” Biden received criticism from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who reminded Biden of his own words, “You can’t legislate by executive action unless you are a dictator.” A Newsmax headline also read, “Just a few months ago, Joe Biden preached consensus and democracy over using executive orders like a ‘dictator,'” and television host Greg Kelly responded, “But he’s now Mr. Executive Order. Have you seen the footage? He’s signing everything, executive order after executive order…”
“The Senate is divided 50/50. The House is almost equally divided. President Biden promised he’d work with Republicans. But he’s signed 40 executive orders and actions in nine days.”Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)