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December 12, 2017

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Sessions: U.S. to continue use of privately run prisons

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Carolyn Kaster / AP

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., now the U.S. attorney general, speaks to media at Trump Tower, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, in New York.

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions has signaled his support for the federal government's use of private prisons, rescinding a memo meant to phase out their use.

Sessions issued a new memo Thursday replacing one issued last August by Sally Yates, the deputy attorney general at the time.

That memo told the Bureau of Prisons to begin reducing and ultimately end its use of privately run prisons. She said the facilities were less well run than those managed by the Bureau of Prisons, and were less necessary given declines in the overall prison population.

But Sessions says in his memo Thursday that Yates' directive contradicted longstanding Justice Department policy and "impaired the Bureau's ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system."