Congressional leaders this week received a letter from 45 civil and human rights advocates representing communities from around the country asking them not to fund any additional private prison beds for immigrants in the Bureau of Prisons budget.
Specifically, advocates asked the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice Science, and Related Agencies to redirect funding from the wasteful prosecution and incarceration of low-level immigration violations and focus resources instead on correctional programs that will better prepare federal prisoners for constructive lives when they are released from confinement.
CAR prisons use taxpayer funds to incarcerate non-violent, “low security” federal immigrant prisoners, primarily prosecuted for immigration violations through the highly controversial program, “Operation Streamline” and related prosecution programs.
“We now spend more than a billion a year to incarcerate people for crossing the border,” said Bob Libal, Executive Director of Grassroots Leadership. “Much of this money is funneled directly to substandard private, for-profit ‘CAR’ prisons. It’s time to end this wasteful and damaging practice.”
CAR prisons are also extraordinarily expensive to operate, especially at a time when the number of immigrants entering at the border has been declining for years and budgets are tight.
"In 1993, fewer than 2,000 people were sentenced to prison for recrossing the border to find work and/or reunite with their families in the U.S,” said Judy Greene of Justice Strategies. “Last year that number was 33,938, and now they they serve an average of 15 months in a private 'CAR' prison before being turned over to ICE for deportation."
The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice Science, and Related Agencies is meeting today to discuss funding BOP operations. The full letter and list of signatories can be found here.
Judy Greene, Justice Strategies, 718-857-3316, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Libal, Grassroots Leadership, (512) 971-0487, email@example.com