Citing safety concerns, the U.S. Justice department has decided to end its use of private prisons, The Washington Post and other sources report.
The decision reportedly comes after officials concluded the facilities are both less safe and less effective than those run by the government.
It means that contracts with 13 private prisons will be reviewed and allowed to expire over the next five years.
“They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security,” Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said Thursday, announcing the decision in a memo.
The Inspector General's report mentioned found that private prisons saw higher rates of violent incidents and rule infractions than government-run ones.
BBC News reports that on Wall Street, stocks of private prison companies declined sharply following the big news.
While a significant move, the decision doesn’t affect a large scope of inmates, as only about 22,000 inmates are housed in privately-run facilities.
The vast majority of the incarcerated in America are housed in state prisons.
Just earlier this month, President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 214 federal inmates -- that brought his authorization of prisoner releases higher than that of the last nine previous presidents combined.