By Roque Planas, The Huffington Post, published August 24, 2016.
Just last week, the Justice Department announced that it was ending contracts with private prison companies and letting them lapse without renewal. Great news! Until we find that the U.S. Marshals Service will continue to use the private prison company system. Puzzling, because the U.S. Marshals Service is also under the Department of Justice just like the Bureau of Prisons. And there are nearly as many people incarcerated under the U.S. Marshals Service.
The U.S. Marshals Service provides: courthouse security; Witness Protection Program management; and the detention of suspects in federal criminal situations. At this time, 31% of the detention population is managed by private prison companies. Supporters of the private prison system have indicated that the reason behind using their services is that the price to house and manage detainees is lower, but the ACLU has shown that the price in 2013, the average cost using private prison companies was $95.27, while the same service provided by state or local government agencies is $69.86. Immigration offenses is the main focus for the U.S. Marshals Service.