NEFAC Continues to Call for Increased Transparency From Privately Managed Prisons


CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 |

The New England First Amendment Coalition recently joined a group of media organizations and open government advocates to renew its call for more accountability at privately-managed prisons.

The coalition supports reintroducing the Private Prison Information Act which would apply the federal Freedom of Information Act to private prison, correctional and detention facilities working on behalf of the federal government.

In a letter sent to U.S. senators this month, NEFAC and more than 40 groups wrote:

“Private prison companies that receive federal funding provide the same service as government agencies, but, by asserting their status as private entities, claim that they are not subject to public records laws such as the FOIA. As a result, the public is largely in the dark with regard to the functioning of the many of this country’s private prisons, and the industry operates with a lack of oversight and accountability mechanisms. This dynamic hinders the ability of the government and public to ensure private prison companies are living up to their contractual obligations and not wasting taxpayer dollars.”

The same letter was sent in 2018 and 2017. NEFAC also joined a similar effort in 2015, urging congressional leaders to open up privately managed prisons to the same level of scrutiny as federal prisons.

There are three federal prisons in New England. Although none are privately managed, this legislation would provide the transparency needed to fully evaluate all prisons, said Justin Silverman, NEFAC’s executive director.

NEFAC was formed in 2006 to advance and protect the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment, including the principle of the public’s right to know. We’re a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of an informed democratic society. Our members include lawyers, journalists, historians, academics and private citizens.

Our coalition is funded through contributions made by those who value the First Amendment and who strive to keep government accountable. Please make a donation here.

Major Supporters of NEFAC include Hearst Connecticut Media Group, the Barr Foundation, The Boston Globe, WBUR and Boston University.