GEO representatives told shareholders during a recent conference call that the company was finalizing a contract with Vermont, according to Grassroots Leadership, a national watchdog that opposes the private prison industry. "We are very concerned that the people who are currently housed out-of-state in Kentucky will be transferred to Baldwin," Kymberlie Quong Charles, Grassroots Leadership's criminal justice programs director, said in an interview. Read more about Vermont Might Send Its Out-of-State Prisoners to Michigan
Corrections Corporation of America
(Austin, TEXAS) — Texas immigration advocates and attorneys today derided an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s announcement that it will “enhance oversight” at the notorious detention camps in Texas and Pennsylvania for asylum-seeking families. Read more about Texas advocates throw cold water on ICE’s promises to ‘fix family detention’
DILLEY, Texas - Hundreds of protesters rallied Saturday for the release of detainees being held at an immigrant detention center in Dilley.
Protesters from across the state converged on Dilley City Hall before marching to the detention center.
Organizers at Grassroots Leadership said the protest was being held to "call for an end to the Obama administration’s inhumane, and illegal policy of locking up refugee parents and children."
Solidarity protests were held Saturday at family detention centers in Pennsylvania and Colorado, as well as the White House. Read more about Hundreds call for release of detainees at immigrant detention center
DILLEY, Texas — On the side of a dusty highway about 70 miles southwest of San Antonio, more than 500 protesters gathered Saturday afternoon in front of the largest immigration detention center in the United States and chanted "shut it down" as facility guards watched from the other side of a barbed wire fence.
The detention center in Dilley, a South Texas town of about 3,600 people, was built in December 2014 to host up to 2,400 undocumented women and children who are seeking asylum. Protesters from all over the country — as far as California and New York — trekked to Dilley on Saturday to call for an end to family detention.
"Many of them are escaping from violence and torture, from abuse at the hands of gangs," said Sofia Casini, a detention visitation coordinator at Grassroots Leadership, an organization that helped orchestrate the protest. "To be put inside of centers with armed guards, where the kids are yelled at, it's all a re-traumatization process."
The South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley — a euphemism, the protesters say, for a low-security prison — is one of two family detainment facilities in Texas, and the largest in the U.S.
"There's one issue with calling them residential facilities: They're locked up. They can't leave," said Bethany Carson, immigration policy researcher and organizer for Grassroots Leadership.
More than 500 protestors were to march from a park in downtown Dilley 2 miles to the Dilley Family Residential Center, a detention center operated for the Homeland Security Department and which can hold up to 2000 people.
Guards affiliated with the detention center kept a watchful eye Saturday morning at the facility as a sea of people nearly 2 miles away holding signs of many colors called for an end to the jailing of immigrant families, and deportations. Read more about Hundreds protest Obama's immigration policy in South Texas
A House lawmaker says he expects the Obama administration to find enough illegal immigrants to fill the detention beds Congress funds — or face budgetary consequences.
Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, says the administration is confused in its interpretation of a law (PL 114-4) that funds 34,000 beds for those detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Culberson says the agency is required to fill the beds, not just have them on hand.
If ICE keeps falling short of the quota, Congress will use its power of the purse to push changes, he told CQ RollCall in an interview.
Meanwhile, legal advocacy groups are making the case that immigrants shouldn't be imprisoned for minor civil infractions. They're protesting private prison companies they say lobby for policies that over-criminalize immigrants.
Grassroots Leadership, a social justice group that opposes for-profit incarceration, says ICE's two largest private prison contractors – Geo Group Inc. and Corrections Corporation of America – were major supporters of increases to the detention bed quota, which was first written into law in 2010.
Since then, the two companies have increased their share in the immigration detention system, now operating eight of the 10 largest detention centers and 72 percent of the privately contracted ICE beds, according to a recent report by Grassroots Leadership. Read more about Republicans Bedcheck an Immigration Detention Program
There’s even a lockup quota at the federal level: The Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention budget includes a mandate from Congress that at least 34,000 immigrants remain detained on a daily basis, a quota that has steadily grown each year, even as the undocumented immigrant population in the United States has leveled off. Private prisons have profited handsomely from that policy, owning nine of the 10 largest ICE detention centers, according to a report released this month by Grassroots Leadership.
With the growing influence of the prison lobby, the nation is, in effect, commoditizing human bodies for an industry in militant pursuit of profit. Read more about How for-profit prisons have become the biggest lobby no one is talking about
Private prison companies GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) recently released proxy materials revealing million dollar compensations for their top executives. Both documents included charts that reflected salary figures, stock awards, option awards, among various other means of monetary compensation. Read more about While mothers and children languish in detention, private prison companies reveal million dollar compensations for top executives
We release this three-part series now to harken back to our own roots in the struggle(s) for true justice, and to spotlight the re-emergence of a flourishing prison divestment movement in which students, again, are playing a central role. It is in this context that Grassroots Leadership and our long-time partner Enlace, are anchoring major national actions against CCA and the GEO Group, the country’s largest private prison companies, in May 2015. We hope that this series will elucidate the historic power that individuals have had on challenging the for-profit prison industry, and to compel participation in the exciting events on the horizon.
- April 19-25, National Week of Engagement for Prison Divestment
- May 2, Dilley Texas: Close Dilley, #EndFamilyDetention
- May 3-5, Boca Raton, Florida: We Want Freedom, Breaking the Chains and Transforming Communities
Kymberlie's Story, Earlham College, Class of ‘02Read more about Grassroots Leadership's roots in prison divestment, Part I: Kymberlie's story
On Monday, Vtdigger reported that this week the number of Vermonters incarcerated out-of-state will drop to the lowest number in a decade, with Vermont officials slowly bringing prisoners home from a Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) prison in Kentucky. Read more about Will CCA punish Vermont for progress? Even in the face of penalties, VT Corrections Commissioner brings prisoners home