Private prison corporations spent $11 million over six years to lobby Congress to keep immigrants in detention centers, a new report released Wednesday found. The Grassroots Leadership report, Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant Detention Quota, found that lobbying efforts of the two largest private prison corporations have made them the main beneficiaries of aggressive immigration detention policies. For-profit family detention centers have come under scrutiny in recent times as migrant women renewed a hunger strike this week in Texas, demanding that they be released on bond with their children. Read more about Millions Spent Lobbying By Private Prison Corporations To Keep A Quota Of Arrested Immigrants, Report Says
Immigration Policy Researcher and Organizer at Grassroots Leadership Bethany Carson co-authored a report released Wednesday that documented “the rise of for-profit detention of immigrants and increased lobbying to the DHS Appropriations Subcommittee in Congress.”
The report talks about “bed quotas,” the required minimum number of immigrants that must be detained at any given time, and how they increase profits for the private prison corporations.
According to the report, two corporations own eight of the nine largest privately owned immigration detention centers. Together, the two corporations, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group made almost $470 million in revenue in 2014 from ICE detention.
We must put an end to these “bed quotas.” The only purpose they serve it so make profits for privately owned prison corporations.
These corporations are profiting off of suffering, and they are using their enormous returns to poison our politics. Read more about Private Prison Corporations are Making Record Profits off Detaining Immigrants
The private prison industry’s growing role in immigrant detention is due in part to Congress' requiring the federal government to maintain some 34,000 detention beds, according to a report released Wednesday.
The report, drafted by Grassroots Leadership, a nonprofit based in Austin, Texas, calls on Congress to eliminate the immigrant detention quota from its 2016 appropriations request.
Bethany Carson, a co-author of the study who spoke on the call, said the detention bed quota is “inhumane” and “unnecessary.” The Grassroots report urges policymakers to reduce the number of required detention beds through “community-based” alternatives to detention. The report does not describe those alternatives in detail, but Grassroots has in the past endorsed programs in which immigration authorities partner with non-governmental organizations to ensure that released migrants comply with court proceedings and find access to community services.
“The only beneficiaries from the detention quota are for-profit corporations that benefit from human pain,” Carson told reporters Read more about Bed Quota Fuels 'Inhumane' And 'Unnecessary' Immigrant Detention: Report
Read more about Key takeaways from new report on private prison payoff from the immigrant detention quota
AUSTIN, TEXAS — A new report released today by Grassroots Leadership, a national social justice organization that works to end for-profit incarceration, examines the increasing seizure of the immigrant detention industry by for-profit prison corporations and their extensive lobbying of Congress to protect their bottom line. Since the creation of the immigrant detention bed quota in 2009, the immigrant detention industry has become 13 percent more privatized. Read more about New Report: Rise in For-Profit Detention Corresponds with Millions in Lobbying by Private Prisons
"The latest uprising at the Willacy County Correctional Center began quietly on Friday morning, when prisoners refused to go to their work assignments or to breakfast. Then, inmates broke out of the massive Kevlar tents that serve as dorms. Willacy County Sheriff Larry Spence told reporters some had kitchen knives, sharpened mops and brooms. Prison officials sprayed tear gas; a SWAT team, the Texas Rangers, the FBI and the US Border Patrol all showed up. It took two days to quell the demonstration. Now administrators are beginning to transfer the 2,800 prisoners—undocumented immigrants, most serving time for low-level offenses—to other facilities, because the protest made the center 'uninhabitable.'
CAR prisons are distinct from the detention facilities maintained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, but they aren’t run like most BOP facilities either. Most CAR prisoners don’t have access to attorneys, and because the BOP assumes they will be deported after serving their time, they are denied some services and considerations afforded to others in the corrections system, such as work training or drug treatment programs. Bob Libal, the executive director of a Texas prison reform group called Grassroots Leadership, explained the BOP’s reasoning: 'In a system with scarce resources, why should we be giving them to immigrants who are just going to get deported?'" Read more about A 2-Day Revolt at a Texas Private Prison Reveals Everything That’s Wrong with Criminalizing Immigration
Since 2009, the Obama Administration has considered a number of reforms to make civil immigration detention more “civil” and acceptable to the public, including the release of new guidelines for ICE facilities in 2011. Read more about The myth of “civilizing” civil immigration detention
For immediate release: October 30, 2014
(BURLINGTON, Vermont) — A letter signed by nearly thirty Vermont organizations, groups and businesses was delivered to the Administration and to political candidates today calling for the return of Vermonters from out-of-state, private, for- profit prisons. Letter signatories believe taxpayer dollars would be better spent on sustainable supports to keep people out of prison and serve those re-entering society.Read more about Organizational Support for Campaign to Bring Prisoners Home Mounts in Vermont
The Bill Clayton Detention Center has been the subject of a long saga that has been draining the tiny West Texas town of Littlefield of revenue for years. The problems in Littlefield have been persistent since building the jail for $10 million in 2000. Littlefield has tried to auction off the facility and fill it with prisoners from New Mexico, California, and even immigrant children. None of these plans have panned out as the town now looks toward a civil commitment contract with Correct Care Solutions. Correct Care Solutions, formerly known as GEO Care, is a spin-off corporation of GEO Group, the same corporation that operated the facility until 2009.
If approved, this facility would house approximately 200 individuals convicted of multiple violent sexual offenses-but who have already completed their prison sentences-beginning as early as November 2014. In this case, the term civil commitment refers to the process of continued monitoring, surveillance, and treatment of individuals labeled as the “worst of the worst” in the world of those convicted of violent sexual offenses. In Texas, individuals can be mandated for civil commitment when they have been convicted of more than one sexually violent offense and have been deemed as suffering from a behavioral abnormality. Again, those who become civilly committed have completed their prison sentences but are mandated to receive continued treatment and active monitoring upon release.Read more about GEO Group subsidiary, Correct Care Solutions, bids to re-purpose the Bill Clayton Detention Center as a new civil commitment facility