Key takeaways from new report on private prison payoff from the immigrant detention quota

A new Grassroots Leadership report released today, Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant Detention Quota, documents connections between the rise of for-profit detention of immigrants and increased lobbying to the DHS Appropriations Subcommittee in Congress, which is responsible for the 'bed quota' or mandated minimum number of immigrants to be detained at any given time. This mandatory minimum for detentions has resulted in record profits for private prison corporations since 2009. 


Hump Day Hall of Shame: Securus video service replaces in person visits, violates attorney-client privilege in Travis County

Thanks to the Texas Civil Rights Project, Grassroots Leadership recently learned about and testified against the removal of in-person visits at the Travis County Jail. This harmful policy has limited all visiting rights to computer-based interactions even if loved ones physically visit the jail. The provider of the video conferencing technology is a private Dallas-based company, Securus, which makes $30 million each year on contracting call and video visitation services with jails and prisons.

The video “visitation” system, which costs $20 for 20 minutes, puts additional financial hardship on families, has a history of not working but still charging users, and has been used to violate attorney-client privilege through the recording and sharing of conversations.

Privatizing Prison Food Leaves a Bad Taste in Our Mouths

Welcome to The Hump Day Hall of Shame:  Every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

It’s no secret that prison privatization is not merely bad policy, but fundamentally counters our efforts as a nation to reduce incarceration and rehabilitate members of our society who need it most.  Week after week, we highlight the pitfalls of privatized corrections with accounts of inadequate medical care, understaffing, security and safety issues, inhumane conditions, and the list goes on.  

Today, however, we want to highlight not the privatization of prisons, but something just as troubling and dangerous - the privatization of services within correctional facilities, public and private alike.  

In the past week, reports have surfaced of plans by Ohio Governor John Kasich to hire a private vendor to provide meals to over 50,000 inmates within the state’s prison system, including juvenile detention facilities.  Kasich argues that privatizing Ohio’s prison food service will save the state up to $16 million annually... but at what cost?


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