Report: 'Systemic' Problems in Groups Overseeing Central American Migrants

October 9, 2014

report released yesterday documents what it calls "systemic" problems in the two private prison companies the federal government hires to house undocumented Central American mothers and their children.

The report alleges detainees are being sexually harassed by guards in the recently-opened Karnes County Residential Center, which is run by the GEO Group, and expresses concern about a forthcoming center opening in Dilley next month, which will be run by CCA.

Austin-based research and advocacy group Grassroots Leadership authored the report, and Cristina Parker, a project coordinator with the group, says private prison contractors like GEO and CCA are often responsible for deaths of those within under care. Since the 1980s, she says, they have settled lawsuits claiming that people die under these companies’ care, while other lawsuits have dealt with sexual and physical abuse. What surprises Parker is that these companies continue getting new contracts.

“Private prison companies are not accountable to anyone,” Parker says. “They are accountable to their shareholders – not to us the people – not even to Congress, not even to the Department of Homeland Security.”