Attorney General Jeff Sessions held his first meeting with heads of federal law enforcement components at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., Feb. 9, 2017. Reuters

In a Thursday note to the Bureau of Prisons, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled back guidance from the Obama administration, which had been upheld by former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, that sought to gradually end the federal government’s use of private prisons.

One of the largest companies behind for-profit prisons, GEO Group, donated at least $100,000 to a Super PAC in support of President Donald Trump, who appointed Sessions, and faced a complaint from the Campaign Legal Center in November over its alleged violation of a Federal Election Commission rule barring government contractors from contributing to political campaigns. When probed by International Business Times the same month, a GEO Group spokesman said the company was not breaking the law, as one of its 60 subsidiaries, which was not a government contractor, made the contribution. The company later donated $5,000 to the nonprofit handling Trump’s transition phase.

GEO and Corrections Corporation of America, another major for-profit prison company, have also given more than $1.6 million to the Republican Governors Association, which bankrolled Vice President Mike Pence’s gubernatorial campaigns in Indiana.

While supporters of private prisons have claimed the detention centers’ profit-making motives push them to cut costs and save taxpayer money, critics have pointed to their lacking medical care, crowding and understaffing. They also tend to incentivize imprisonment and recidivism and are often used for the imprisonment of immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), 62 percent of whom are housed in private prisons.

While Sessions’ memo affects federal inmates, 40,000 of whom reside in private prisons, the majority of for-profit prison populations consist of state inmates, 91,000 of whom are in private prisons, according to the most recent data from the Justice Department. The average number of undocumented immigrants placed in for-profit prisons by ICE on a given day was just over 33,000 in 2012, but had grown to that total from less than 20,000 a decade earlier. With Trump’s strict stance on immigration, reports of widespread ICE detentions in recent weeks and Sessions’ new direction, that number is likely to increase.