"Immigrant advocates applauded changes to the Obama administration's family detention policy unveiled last week that has the lowering of bonds as the cornerstone of the revamping. Categorizing the change as a first step toward reform, activists continue to call to an end to the practice of holding immigrant families.
Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, also is calling for an end to the program. In May, his members joined more than 600 protesters – including a caravan of parishioners from Austin-based St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church – gathered outside the recently opened South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, calling for its closure. 'I think there is some positive movement of Johnson's announcement,' he said. "They are feeling the impact of what has been unanimous outrage over the decision to incarcerate kids and moms. But I don't think it goes far enough."
Libal points out the built-in incentive to keep families detained, given the for-profit nature of the detention camps – operated by publicly held companies that bill the government $300 a day to detain each immigrant. 'There is no way to humanely detain a kid in one of these detention camps,' he adds." [node:read-more:link]
(AUSTIN, Texas) — Yesterday’s statement by DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson lays out “substantial changes” to the Administration’s family detention policy, but falls short of ending the detention of refugee families or closing the detention camps run by the for-profit prison corporations that benefit from mass family detention. [node:read-more:link]
Two reports bring back to the forefront the issue of existing policies and financial incentives that stand in the way of due process for individuals in immigration detention centers.
Both reports released this spring — one by Austin-based nonprofit Grassroots Leadership and the other by Detention Watch Network — reveal the growing role private prison corporations play in the detention of immigrants due in part to a requirement by Congress to maintain a specific number of detention beds. The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency spends nearly $2 billion annually on the detention of people. Private companies control about 62 percent of the detention beds used by ICE, according to the Grassroots report. Both reports call on Congress to eliminate the immigrant detention quota from its 2016 appropriations request.
The two largest private prison companies involved in detention — Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group – were awarded nearly half a billion dollars from immigrant detention services in 2014 alone, according to the Grassroots report. Both companies received contracts to operate family detention centers in Texas following the child migrant crisis last year. The newly constructed 2,200-bed family detention center in Dilley is operated by CCA. The 530-bed detention center in Karnes City is run by GEO Group. [node:read-more:link]
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- A “Free the People” caravan from Oakland to Bakersfield brought together immigration advocates, youth leaders, and community organizers from around the state at the Mesa Verde Detention Center on Saturday May 30th.
According to the BAJI website, one of demands of the caravan was an end to the so-called “bed quota,” by which Congress requires that the federal government keep 34,000 beds in detainment centers filled at all times. Sixty-two percent of these beds are owned by private companies like the GEO Group, according to a report released last month by Grassroots Leadership, which also said that the GEO Group has seen its profits rise by 244 percent since the quota was implemented. [node:read-more:link]
A conversation on prison in America wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the prison industrial complex and private prisons. The term “prison industrial complex” is used to attribute the rapid expansion of the US inmate population to the political influence of private prison companies and businesses that supply goods and services to government prison agencies. People get paid off of prison, basically. The term is derived from the military industrial complex of the 1950s.
In 2010 the Department of Homeland Security adopted a bed quota that required Immigration and Custom Enforcement to detain about 34,000 individuals on any given day. The quota certainly did not benefit immigrants, but it did prove to be extraordinarily lucrative for the private prison companies that picked up the new business. A report released last week by Grassroots Leadership, a Texas non-profit, details how private prison companies have spent five years lobbying the government, not only to maintain that bed quota, but to enact conservative immigration reform that would continue to ensure a steady flow of inmates into its detention centers. So they get paid to put immigrants in beds in private prisons, in America. [node:read-more:link]
The North Lake Correctional Facility, which will reopen at the end of June after being closed for four years, will strictly house inmates from other states, as Michigan will send none of its own to the facility. It’s the latest development in the controversial practice of how some states send local prisoners thousands of miles away from home to serve their sentences.
Indeed, studies have found that inmates who maintain family connections have lower rates of recidivism. A 2013 study on out-of-state prisons, conducted by Grassroots Leadership, an advocacy group that aims to end for-profit prisons, cited a prisoner who was only able to see his family twice in two years after being sent out of state. Previously, he had been seeing them every weekend, he said.
Across the nation, nearly 10,000 inmates are currently housed by private prisons outside the states where they were charged of a crime. [node:read-more:link]
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. [node:read-more:link]
"A scathing new report says the private prison industry is getting fat off profits from detaining undocumented immigrants in subpar conditions – and Boca Raton-based GEO Group is one of the main culprits.
In the report, titled Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit With an Immigration Detention Quota, Grassroots Leadership, a nonprofit opposed to mass incarceration, says GEO Group and Correction Corporation of America (CCA) has successfully lobbied an acquiescent Congress for laws that increase the number of immigrants in its detention centers, leading to sharp increases in profits." [node:read-more:link]