So I guess I knew this was happening - the Bloomberg article I read today points out just how bad it is.
We apparently have a law that mandates the imprisonment of 34,000 undocumented aliens every day. This is a guaranteed minimum number of beds the federal governemnt pays to for-profit prison management companies.
Under law, taxpayers must pay to keep 34,000 people like Romero in jail, at a cost of about $120 each per day ... Prisons are one of the few institutions that states and the federal government have moved to privatize, creating a booming business for Corrections Corp. (CXW) and GeoIt's not because we need the space:
the number of immigrants caught sneaking across the border has fallen by more than half since the past recession began ... At an April hearing, then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, whose department includes ICE, called the mandate “artificial” and said reducing the required number of detainees would let the agency free low-risk offenders who could be on supervised release.And it's not becuase they do a good job:
The results haven’t always been good. Regulatory, court and state records show that privately run prisons have been troubled by staffing shortages, rapid employee turnover or cost-cutting that has led to dangerous conditions for inmates, and some academic studies have cast doubt on the industry’s core claim of saving taxpayers’ money. This year, Ohio auditors faulted Corrections Corp. after assaults almost tripled following its takeover of a state prison, and a riot at its Natchez, Mississippi, immigrant facility left a guard dead and 20 people injured last year.And it's not because they save the government money:
“People are being kept in detention -- in many cases for weeks or months at a time -- without consideration for the individual circumstances,” said Denise Gilman, co-director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Texas law school in Austin. “This is being done at a tremendous financial cost to taxpayers and a tremendous human cost to families.” ... The Obama administration has questioned the need to hold so many. It has asked Congress to cut the bed quota so it can use less costly measures, such as ankle bracelets, to ensure that detainees show up in court.So why do we do this?
Both Corrections Corp. and Geo rely on Washington lobbyists to advance their interests. ... Corrections Corp. has spent more than $13 million on lobbyists since 2005 ... Geo has spent more than $2.8 million lobbying over that time. ... Since the 2008 elections, Corrections Corp., Geo and Management & Training Corp., the three biggest prison operators, have donated at least $132,500 to the campaigns of members of Congressional subcommittees that appropriate money to ICE and determine how much is spent on incarcerationJust wrong on so many levels.