Private Prisons

May 15, 2015
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The Monitor

Editorial: More immigration judges will help courts, country

"The privately-run detention facility, operated by Corrections Corporation of America, is paid $275 per day per detainee, said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership in Austin. 'At full build out it will bring $660,000 per day or $240 million in annual revenue from this one detention camp,' Libal said.

That’s all paid for with American taxpayer funds and is a prime example of why detainees need to be processed and adjudicated quickly through our courts.

As Cuellar told us: 'Right now the backlog is just tremendous so this will allow us to have hearings before the judges on a much faster pace so we can get rid of the backlog. Whatever the judge’s decide — whether they can stay or return — at least they get a day before a judge.'" Read more about Editorial: More immigration judges will help courts, country

Michigan, don't help GEO reopen troubled private prison. Stop HB 4467 now!

Last Thursday the Michigan House approved legislation that would help private prison company, the GEO Group, get one of their shuttered prisons up and running again.

House Bill 4467, if passed, would allow GEO Group to house Level V high-security prisoners at the now-empty North Lake Correctional Facility in Baldwin, MI. Although the prison has been empty since 2011, Michigan law allows for the GEO prison to house prisoners, including those from other states, but only prisoners requiring Level IV security and below.

Read more about Michigan, don't help GEO reopen troubled private prison. Stop HB 4467 now!

Apr 17, 2015
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Austin Chronicle

Detainees Strike for Freedom

"Advocates have trained their sights on a similar, newly opened facility in Dilley – 150 miles south, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Austin. By next month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforce­ment will have capacity to hold up to 2,400 at what will be the nation's largest immigrant detention center. Opened in late December, Dilley is operated by Corrections Corporation of America, while the Karnes site is run by the Geo Group Inc., both for-profit companies contracted by government agencies. Some opponents question the logic of spending money to incarcerate immigrants rather than helping them integrate into the community; according to Reuters, the cost to run the Dilley site is $296 per person per day.

'It's incredibly profitable for these corporations,'said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership. 'I'd argue these are the only people these facilities are good for. It's very detrimental to the well-being and health of the kids and moms detained and enormously expensive for taxpayers to be footing the bill of about $300 a day to detain those individuals.' Locally, Grass­roots Leadership and St. Andrew's Pres­by­terian Church will each charter two buses to take protesters to Dilley on May 2, calling for closure of such facilities. They'll be met by other buses from San Antonio, the Valley, Houston, and elsewhere." Read more about Detainees Strike for Freedom

Apr 29, 2015
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Palm Beach Post

Hunger strike? What hunger strike? GEO asks as protests mark meeting

Outside, more than 100 activists from half a dozen organizations were protesting the Boca Raton firm. Members of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Dream Defenders, Enlace International, SEIU-Florida and the Palm Beach Environmental Coalition were on hand, as was Texas-based Grassroots Leadership, which has worked with Karnes facility immigrants.

Protesters blasted the billion-dollar company’s fundamental business, which hinges on a daily payment rate for every prisoner or immigrant it houses. Read more about Hunger strike? What hunger strike? GEO asks as protests mark meeting

Apr 28, 2015
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The Washington Post PostEverything

How for-profit prisons have become the biggest lobby no one is talking about

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

Apr 21, 2015
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Fox News Latino

Study: Private prison firms spend millions to ensure steady supply of undocumented immigrants

Private prisons that have contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress to keep a steady population of 34,000 migrants detained at all times, a study by the Austin, Texas-based Grassroots Leadership group found.

Grassroots Leadership researched detention conditions across the country and concluded that nine of the 10 facilities used by the Department of Homeland Security to house undocumented immigrants were private, and eight of them were owned by two corporations that have posted record profits since 2009. Read more about Study: Private prison firms spend millions to ensure steady supply of undocumented immigrants

Apr 20, 2015
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The Texas Observer

ICE Director to U.S. Rep. Culberson: We Can’t Just Put People in Detention for ‘the Heck of it’

In Congress, Geo Group, Corrections Corporation of America and other private prison companies spend millions on lobbying. Much of that lobbying is focused on powerful members of the appropriations committee like Culberson, who received campaign contributions from CCA, which runs detention facilities including Dilley’s controversial South Texas Residential Center, which detains women and children.

A new study by the nonprofit Grassroots Leadership finds that the private prison industry has increased its share of immigrant detention beds by 13 percent since the 2009 quota was passed. For-profit corporations now operate sixty-two percent of ICE immigration detention beds.

At one point during the U.S. House Appropriations Committee hearing last week, Saldaña tries to explain to the tea-partier Culberson that she can’t put people in detention “just for the heck of it.” Read more about ICE Director to U.S. Rep. Culberson: We Can’t Just Put People in Detention for ‘the Heck of it’

Apr 16, 2015
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Common Dreams

'Profiting From Misery': Private Prison Corporations Driving Harsh Immigration Policies

Private prison companies are spending millions of dollars to lobby the U.S. government for harsher immigration laws that, in turn, spike corporate profits by driving up incarceration levels, a new report from the national social justice organization Grassroots Leadership reveals.

Entitled Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant Detention Quota, the report's release on Wednesday coincided with a renewed hunger strike at a privately-run immigrant detention center in southern Texas, where asylum-seeking mothers incarcerated with their children report inhumane conditions, including sexual assaults by prison guards and staff.

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Report coauthor Bethany Carson declared in a press statement, "The immigrant detention quota is taxpayer-financed insurance for private prison corporations that the government will maintain their bottom line at all costs. Now, we are seeing those same corporations invest millions in the Congressional committee that created that insurance policy for them."

Carson added, "Congress’s vast immigrant detention system is tearing apart families and communities, and creating an enormous profit from human misery." Read more about 'Profiting From Misery': Private Prison Corporations Driving Harsh Immigration Policies

Apr 16, 2015
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The Dallas Observer

Arresting Illegal Immigrants in Texas Is Making Private Prisons Companies Rich

No detention center has bigger plans for illegal immigrants than the South Texas Family Center in Dilley. The center is run by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America and is under expansion. By May 2015, the facility will be able to hold 2,400 people. "If this expansion proceeds, Dilley will be the largest immigrant detention center in the U.S.," says a new report about the troubling role that private prison companies play in U.S. immigration policy. The report was published by Grassroots Leadership, an advocacy group that is critical of the industry.

Using government and financial records and news articles, the Grassroots report details how two companies -- Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group -- have benefited from locking up illegal immigrants, and how the South Texas border surge in arrests has been especially profitable to the CCA and GEO Group. Texas has 7,602 private beds for the immigrant detainees, Grassroots Leadership found, a figure that represents 39 percent of all private prison beds in the whole country.

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But the Grassroots report raises a bigger argument, that it's probably not a good idea to let our immigration policies be influenced by a few companies with something to gain. Read more about Arresting Illegal Immigrants in Texas Is Making Private Prisons Companies Rich

Apr 16, 2015
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The Spokesman Review

Editorial: Bed quotas for immigration detainees a costly flub

Illegal border crossings are in decline, but Homeland Security officers nonetheless have a detention-bed quota they must meet. Private prison companies are reaping the benefits, and taxpayers are being shortchanged.

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Grassroots Leadership, a nonprofit social justice group, released a report Wednesday highlighting the plight of some detainees and the lobbying efforts of CCA and GEO Group, particularly with the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security. CCA has spent nearly $10 million lobbying the panel since 2008. Both companies deny trying to influence immigration policy. Read more about Editorial: Bed quotas for immigration detainees a costly flub

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