BOP

EXPOSED: 6 types of abuse reported by women from inside for-profit Laredo detention center, DHS still reviewing ties to private prisons

As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) investigates its use of private prisons, women currently and formerly detained in two CCA-operated immigrant detention centers in Texas are speaking out against abuses in the facilities. 

Their letters from inside are exposing grossly inadequate medical care and health conditions; unsanitary facilities; sickening food; verbal abuse & harsh, punitive treatment; re-traumatization of survivors of violence; interference with phone conversations. 

Translation: “Just like you want to support us, we too are willing to support ourselves and will not stay quiet about the abuse of our rights that we have been victims of.” Read more about EXPOSED: 6 types of abuse reported by women from inside for-profit Laredo detention center, DHS still reviewing ties to private prisons

Sep 21, 2016
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Fort Worth Weekly

Private Hells

A scathing early-August report by the Office of the Inspector General on the quality-of-inmate-life in private prisons led to a very quick decision by the Department of Justice: Unless a new contract is “substantially reduce[d] in scope in a manner consistent with law,” the Bureau of Prisons must allow its current contracts with private prisons to expire.

The U.S. deputy attorney general said she believes this is just the beginning. In a memo to the acting director of the BOP, Sally Q. Yates wrote, “This is the first step in the process of reducing — and ultimately ending — our use of privately operated prisons.”

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But on Friday, Aug. 25, Jeh Johnson, homeland security secretary, announced that he has ordered “a review of for-profit immigration detention contracts.”

The homeland security review comes as something of a surprise: In an e-mail to me later on that same Friday, ICE spokesperson Carl Rusnok indicated that private prisons would continue to be utilized as part of ICE’s inventory of prisoner housing. It should be noted, he included in his message that “ICE detention is solely for the purpose of either awaiting the resolution of an individual’s immigration case or to carry out a removal order. ICE does not detain for punitive reasons.”

Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, a nonprofit focused on ending the use of private prisons in the United States, scoffed at the notion that ICE prisons are not punitive.

“People stay in ICE facilities for weeks, months, sometimes years,” he told me in response to Rusnok’s comments. “Just because they put pictures on the walls doesn’t mean [the facilities] are not punitive. There are still locks on the doors and guards to keep you from leaving.” Read more about Private Hells

Aug 28, 2016
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Arizona Republic

Valdez: Private prisons are an immoral, publicly funded mistake

In Arizona, Republican supporters of for-profit prisons ended the cost-benefit discussion about for-profit state prisons in 2012 by repealing a requirement to compare private prisons with those run by the state.

In reality, cost-benefit discussions are a distraction. The bedrock goal of a private prison is to make money. That’s the point.

Detainees are dollar signs. That’s the problem.

“There’s something morally wrong with making a profit from locking up human beings,” Libal said.

Tax dollars built the private prison industry. The withdrawal of tax dollars can dismantle it. Read more about Valdez: Private prisons are an immoral, publicly funded mistake

Aug 20, 2016
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Arizona Republic

Could for-profit immigrant detention centers, including in Arizona, be next on feds' hit list?

Plans by the Department of Justice to begin phasing out contracts with private prisons is fueling calls from immigrant advocates to also end the use of private immigration detention centers.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has in recent years increasingly contracted with private for-profit companies to run a vast network of detention centers to hold immigrants, including the 1,550-bed Eloy Detention Center in Pinal County about 60 miles south of Phoenix.

Critics contend the use of for-profit companies to run immigration detention centers has fueled a trend to hold more people rather than use less expensive alternatives to detention.

"These companies have financial interest in making sure that these detention facilities are full," said Bob Libal,​ executive director of Grassroots Leadership, an advocacy group based in Austin, Texas, that opposes private prisons. Read more about Could for-profit immigrant detention centers, including in Arizona, be next on feds' hit list?

Aug 18, 2016
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Vice

The federal shutdown of private prisons only affects a fraction of inmates

News that the federal government is rolling back its dealings with private prisons was a big enough deal on Thursday that it sent Corrections Corp stock plummeting within 60 seconds.

It's no small thing: the government's decision to decline or let expire contracts with the 13 private prisons across the country will affect about 40,000 inmates held inside, according to a 2014 report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

But this move only affects a fraction of inmates locked up by the private sector: the same report shows over 91,000 are housed in state prisons, which will be untouched by the DOJ's decision. The BJS report does not include private county prisons.

Nor will the decision touch the private detention operations of the Immigration and and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is housed under the Department of Homeland Security, a bigger client to the private prison industry than the DOJ. ICE is under a mandate to hold 34,000 detainees at a time, and corporations oversee 62 percent of ICE's detention beds.

A damning report by the Inspector General a week ago found private inmates get worse treatment, fewer resources, and shabbier conditions than their counterparts in publicly-run prisons.

"I would still say this is an historic day and may mark a turning point," said Bob Libal, executive director at Grassroots Leadership, a civil rights group that studies and organizes to end private prisons.

"I hope it's one of many big days to come," he added. Read more about The federal shutdown of private prisons only affects a fraction of inmates

Aug 18, 2016
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Houston Public Media

DOJ Report: Privately Operated Prisons Less Safe For Inmates And Staff

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Justice has released a report on privately operated prisons that concludes these facilities, some of them located in Texas, have more safety and security incidents than those operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The DOJ looked at incidents that occurred between Fiscal Year 2011 and Fiscal Year 2014 and OIG staff visited three private prisons that have contracts with the federal government.

Two of them are in Texas.

They are the Dalby Correctional Facility, which is in the northwest part of the state, and the Eden Detention Center, located about 50 miles east of San Angelo. Read more about DOJ Report: Privately Operated Prisons Less Safe For Inmates And Staff

Aug 22, 2016
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AlterNet

There's a Monster Loophole in the Feds' Move to Stop Working With Private Prisons

The DOJ’s decision will impact 13 federal prisons run by private companies, or just over 22,000 incarcerated people. These people will be ostensibly shuffled to publicly-operated prisons, which is still a big problem for those who argue that mass incarceration itself is a profound injustice.

As the anti-prison-profiteering organization Grassroots Leadership explains, “Most privately-operated prisons within the BOP are Criminal Alien Requirement (CAR) prisons. CAR prisons hold noncitizens, many of whom have been criminally prosecuted for crossing the border.” Bethany Carson, researcher and organizer for the group, said in a press statement, “We hope that this decision will be a stepping stone for the DOJ to end the use of segregated prisons for non-citizens and de-prioritize improper entry and re-entry prosecutions.” Read more about There's a Monster Loophole in the Feds' Move to Stop Working With Private Prisons

Oct 9, 2015
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Univision

Juan Carlos Ramos, el hispano que interrumpió a Hillary Clinton

Unos 23,000 inmigrantes se encuentran detenidos cada noche en prisiones privadas que manejan corporaciones contratadas por la Agencia Federal de Prisiones. Aproximadamente un 62% de todas las camas de detención para inmigrantes están en manos de corporaciones privadas, por encima de un 49% en 2009, según Grassroots Leadership, un grupo que busca dar fin a la encarcelación con ánimo de lucro.

Clinton misma denunció a estas compañías este año durante un discurso en Las Vegas. “No sé si muchos estadounidenses saben que muchas de las facilidades de detención de inmigrantes son dirigidas por compañías privadas, las cuales tienen un incentivo para llenarlas”, dijo Clinton, refiriéndose a un mandato congresional que obliga a funcionarios de inmigración a tener 34,000 camas disponibles cada noche.

“Entonces salen y buscan a gente para recibir pagos a base de cuántas camas están llenas. Eso no me tiene sentido”, dijo Clinton.


Pero Ramos cree que Clinton lo dice solo para ganarse el voto latino.

“Nuestro mensaje a Hillary Clinton es simple: los jóvenes inmigrantes no confían en ti. Es tiempo de abandonar el dinero de las prisiones y apoyar a nuestra comunidad—no puedes tener ambas cosas”, dijo Ramos en un comunicado antes de la protesta. “Cada dólar que su campaña recibe de prisiones privadas socava sus promesas a favor de los inmigrantes, y nuestra comunidad no será engañada”. Read more about Juan Carlos Ramos, el hispano que interrumpió a Hillary Clinton

Oct 9, 2015
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Fusion

Meet Juan, the DREAMer who interrupted Hillary Clinton’s big speech

Roughly 23,000 immigrants are held each night in private prisons that are contracted out to corporations by the Bureau of Prisons. An estimated 62% of all immigration detention beds in the U.S. are operated by for-profit prison corporations, up from 49% in 2009, according to a report released earlier this year by Grassroots Leadership, a group whose mission it is to end for-profit incarceration. Read more about Meet Juan, the DREAMer who interrupted Hillary Clinton’s big speech

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