- United States
A review conducted by the Associated Press showed that the United States’ major prison companies have been making considerable profits since the immigration policy revolution started in the country. The review, released earlier this week, showed how the number of detention beds in private facilities had jumped from 10 percent to almost 50 percent in the past ten years.
The review also showed how private prison companies, on the verge of becoming bankrupt 10 years ago, are making millions of dollars per year. Despite a drop in the number illegal immigrants in recent years, the report claims that the growth is far from over for these privately run prisons.
The review released by the Associated Press focused on the relationship between the changing immigration policies of the United States and the private prison companies providing detention facilities to the State for holding illegal immigrants before deportation. It stated that from the total annual number of 400,000 illegal immigrants detained in the U.S, almost 200,000 were kept in privately owned detention centers. The cost of keeping these undocumented immigrants in these facilities is approximately $2 billion per annum, which is a massive burden for American tax payers.
The report also calculated the per night cost of keeping detainees in detention centers including health care benefits and guard remunerations totaled to $166 per night of each prisoner. This is a massive jump from the $80 per night in 2004. The Associated Press had also issued these calculations to the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which substantiated the reports numbers.
The federal government defended these costs and stated that outsourcing state responsibilities wasn’t necessarily economical. The Associated Press report also studied the possible ‘legal’ relationship between the U.S immigration policy makers and implementers and the private prison companies, trying to create a link between the policy changes and the financial revival of some of these companies.
These private firms claimed by the review to be controlling almost half of the detention facilities, include three major companies; Correction Corporation of America, the GEO group, and Management and Training Corp. These companies have spent a combined sum of at least $45 million on lobbyists and campaign donations in the past ten years.
In the year 2000, the Correction Corporation of America (CCA) was on the verge of bankruptcy owing to legal and managerial issues. The same company was reported of making a net income of $162 million in 2011 owing mostly to federal contracts which made almost 43 percent of its overall revenue.
On the other hand, the Geo Group, experienced an approximately $61.7 million dollar increase in its net income since 2000. The company also attributes the major portion of its incomes to immigration agency contracts.
Both the companies denied that they had, in any way, influenced the immigration policy making in the country.
Where GEO spokespersons declined to give any interviews or comments on any such allegations, a spokesperson of CCA, Steve Owen, did provide some clarification in his company’s defense. Owen said that his company had a very defined and articulate policy on lobbying, and claimed the company’s lobbying and campaigns to be legal.
“As a matter of long standing corporate policy, CCA does not lobby on issues that would determine the basis for an individual’s detention or incarceration,” Owen said, through the company’s website for responding to any such allegations.
ICE executive associate director for enforcement and removal operations, Gary Mead, said that the U.S government had not made any particular calculations as to the costs of privatizing immigrant detentions.
President Obama has asked immigration agencies to find alternative detention methods to decrease costs and has also directed the Department of Homeland Security to stop deportations of young illegal immigrant through an executive order. Congress still has the authority to approve more detention spending by the agencies.
Tags: Correction Corporation of America, Illegal immigrants, Immigration, immigration policies of United States, the GEO group, United States, US Immigration, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, US immigration policy makers