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Our December return to Southern California’s Mojave National Preserve offered the opportunity to revisit Kelso Depot, the beautifully restored 1924 Union Pacific rail station that now serves as the preserve’s visitor center.

WASHINGTON - In the eyes of former President Barack Obama's Justice Department, private prisons were a sort-of necessary evil - less safe and effective than facilities run by the government, but needed because of the volume of inmates in the federal system. When Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates ordered them to be phased out in favor of government-run facilities last year, she said she was able to do so only because the inmate population had declined, thanks to sentencing reform and other measures to keep people from serving long prison terms.