Payoff

Sep 6, 2016
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Los Angeles Times

White House considers ending for-profit immigrant detainee centers but critics say it could add billions to the cost

The Obama administration is considering an end to the practice of keeping immigrant detainees in for-profit centers, weeks after the Federal Bureau of Prisons announced it would stop its use of private prisons.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, whose agency includes the immigration service and the Border Patrol, in late August ordered a review of ways to end the use of the private facilities.

A decision to do so would mark a major victory for the coalition of civil rights groups and immigrant advocacy organizations that has sought to roll back the growth of the private-prison industry. Immigration detention facilities house far more detainees than the private facilities the federal prison system has used.

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Civil rights advocates have documented a pattern of poor medical care and abuse inside private immigration facilities over the last several years. They say such prisons have an incentive to cut corners and reduce costs.

Although the allegations of abuse are not limited to privately run prisons, “we certainly see a lot of these problems magnified when a company is seeking to extract as much profit as it can out of a detention center,” said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership. Read more about White House considers ending for-profit immigrant detainee centers but critics say it could add billions to the cost

Aug 30, 2016
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AlterNet

DHS To Revisit For-Profit Immigrant Prisons: Will It Also Revisit Mass Detentions?

It is not clear, at this point, what impact Johnson’s announcement will have on the people incarcerated in immigrant detention centers, which rights campaigners say are more like prisons or even internment camps.

The incarceration of immigrants, migrants and refugees is the area of greatest growth for the private prison industry in the United States, with the companies Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group making windfall profits. According to the latest figures from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, more than 70 percent of all ICE beds are operated by for-profit companies.

In turn, these corporations have been instrumental in pressing the U.S. government to adopt heavy-handed immigration policies. A report released last year by the organization Grassroots Leadership, which opposes prison profiteering, reveals that the for-profit prison industry in 2009 successfully pressured Congress to adopt the congressional immigrant detention quota, which today directs ICE to hold an average 34,000 people in detention on a daily basis. Read more about DHS To Revisit For-Profit Immigrant Prisons: Will It Also Revisit Mass Detentions?

Aug 30, 2016
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Rewire

ICE May Stop Contracting With Private Prison Companies

The Texas-based organization Grassroots Leadership last year released a report revealing that private prisons increased their share of the immigrant detention industry after the implementation of the “detention bed quota,” which guaranteed 34,000 immigrants would be detained at any given time.

Private prison corporations accounted for two-thirds of ICE detention beds in 2014, according to the organization. The share of immigration detention beds operated by private prison corporations has increased to 72 percent, as NPR reported. Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, the country’s two largest private prison companies, operate nine out of ten of the largest detention centers.

The HSAC is comprised of 40 members that advocates have called “an unusual group of people.” Members include controversial New York Police Commissioner William Bratton, a retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, Chuck Canterbury, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Marshall Fitz, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and Dr. Ned Norris Jr., former chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation, a tribe that was divided by the construction of the U.S./Mexico border. Read more about ICE May Stop Contracting With Private Prison Companies

Apr 6, 2016
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Houston Press

UH Students Urge University to Divest From For-Profit Prisons

Grad students at the University of Houston have launched a petition urging the school to divest from the private prison industry, which is made up of companies that profit from incarcerating people.

Two social work students, Julia Kramp and Nakia Winfield, learned that UH had several million dollars invested in four major financial corporations that, in turn, each had millions of shares in private prisons. The two had been tasked with launching a social policy initiative as a class project and had been following End Mass Incarceration Houston, which often criticizes these private prisons for making a buck off mass incarceration. So when Kramp and Winfield found out UH was, indirectly, investing in this industry,  they reached out to End Mass Incarceration Houston and started putting together a Change.org petition urging UH to stop “banking on bondage.” Now, the petition has more than 200 signatures. Read more about UH Students Urge University to Divest From For-Profit Prisons

Mar 3, 2016
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Fusion

Here’s the infographic that persuaded Bernie Sanders to speak out against private prisons

Private prison corporations, however, have increased their share of the immigrant detention industry. Nine of the ten largest detention centers—which detain immigrants who have entered the country without authorization—are run by private prisons. Immigrants who are caught illegally crossing in to the U.S. more than once are almost always held in private prisons facilities.

An estimated 62% of all immigration detention beds managed by ICE are operated by for-profit prison corporations, up from 49% in 2009, according to federal documents analyzed by Grassroots Leadership, a group whose mission it is end for-profit incarceration. Read more about Here’s the infographic that persuaded Bernie Sanders to speak out against private prisons

Mar 10, 2016
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ThinkProgress

A Shocking Glimpse Inside America’s Privatized Detention Facilities For Immigrants

It’s not easy to find out what happens inside the walls of ICE’s numerous detention centers. Critics complain of a persistent culture of secrecy within the agency, and details about the circumstances of hunger strikes can be sparse even on the occasion that ICE will acknowledge one. Rarely will the agency grant more than a yes or no confirmation.

But through a FOIA request to ICE, ThinkProgress obtained a document that provides some clarity: CCA’s emergency food strike plan. The disciplinary nature of the company’s policy (embedded below) stood out to Carl Takei, a staff attorney at the ACLU’s National Prison Project who specializes in immigration detention.

“The thrust of the policy is to squelch the protest rather to address any medical or health concerns,” Takei told ThinkProgress after reviewing its content. “It’s very different from ICE’s hunger strike policy, because ICE’s hunger strike policy is primarily about medical procedures and medical concerns. This policy is about security and control.“

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The policy also carved out punishments for food strikers, noting that participants would have their all of their commissary purchasing privileges suspended, and could have radio, visitation, and phone privileges removed if the center’s commander chose.

“I think it’s telling that it describes a food strike as a passive-aggressive form of protest,” Takei said. “I haven’t seen a detailed policy like this that lays out both the punitive attitude and the punitive procedures. Usually this is something that is done much more informally.”

But punishment for the October incident allegedly went beyond what was written into CCA’s policy. Grassroots Leadership claims ICE and/or CCA retaliated against strikers by placing them in solitary confinement and then sending them to other detention centers. In response to a FOIA request, ICE told ThinkProgress that Hutto does not use solitary confinement.

But Zelaya claims she was placed in isolation at the detention center and sent to a frigid room by herself. “When I participated in the hunger strike for my life and health I did it because I didn’t feel that they took good care of me… and for participating they punished me,” she said in a statement provided to ThinkProgress. “I was put in a room alone with so much cold, cold. I cried because my bones hurt from so much cold.”

Days later, she was transferred to a different facility, in Laredo, Texas. Read more about A Shocking Glimpse Inside America’s Privatized Detention Facilities For Immigrants

Oct 23, 2015
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Newsweek

Donald Trump Demands Super PACs Supporting Him Return Money, as Hillary Clinton Disavows Private Prison PACs

Earlier on Friday, Clinton's campaign staff confirmed to Fusion that she won't accept donations from federally registered lobbyists and PACs for private prison companies. Instead, she will donate those direct contributions to charity. It was not immediately clear which charities Clinton will choose.

"Hillary Clinton has said we must end the era of mass incarceration, and as president, she will end private prisons and private immigrant detention centers," a representative from her campaign tells Newsweek. "When we're dealing with a mass incarceration crisis, we don't need private industry incentives that may contribute—or have the appearance of contributing—to over-incarceration."

Clinton’s decision reportedly follows pressure from groups, including immigration organizations and Black Lives Matter. Sixty-two percent of immigration detention beds are located in facilities operated by private prison companies, according to a report published in April by Grassroots Leadership. Read more about Donald Trump Demands Super PACs Supporting Him Return Money, as Hillary Clinton Disavows Private Prison PACs

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

Sep 16, 2015
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Hartford Courant

Interfaith Council, Nuns Urge Education, Action on Private Prisons

There have been 4,000 known deaths of migrants crossing the Mexico-U.S. border since 1995. Since 2001, there have been 2,100 deaths along the Arizona-Mexico border alone. That people still make the attempt is proof that they are desperate according to Sr. Yvette Rainville, DHS.

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OS is a policy begun in 2005 that mandates thousands of undocumented immigrants crossing the Southern border be prosecuted in the federal criminal justice system. Some feel that the policy has turned migrants into criminals, expanded the need for prisons to hold them, made a mockery of human rights, and created an unholy alliance between private prisons and the government.

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The ICE detention budget includes a mandate from congress that 34,000 immigrants be detained on a daily basis. Private prisons own nine of 10 ICE detention centers, according to a report by the Grassroots Leadership. Read more about Interfaith Council, Nuns Urge Education, Action on Private Prisons

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