ICE and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) plan to build a massive immigration detention center in the Town of Southwest Ranches, just 30 minutes from Miami, FL. With 1,500 beds, this prison will be one of the largest in the country.
Since it hit the news last summer, immigrant rights’ advocates, residents and even environmentalists in South Florida, have voiced a strong and growing opposition against this new facility. The community has called on U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-20) to withdraw their current endorsements for CCA’s project. The controversy has grown to the point that the neighboring City of Pembroke Pines cut off the water that CCA needs for this development.
The will of the people has fallen on deaf ears. ICE, CCA and the Town of Southwest Ranches keep moving forward with the project.
Today, the Illinois Senate passed SB 1064, Senator Antonio Munoz’s bill to bar the State, counties, and municipalities from contracting with private companies to run civil detention centers. SB 1064 passed the Illinois Senate by a vote of 34-17. This bill would block an immigration detention center being proposed for Crete, in the south Chicago suburbs. The bill now goes to the Illinois House. Continue reading
Crete: Will a promised economic windfall go to the prison company or to residents?
But will Crete residents, and their neighbors in surrounding villages, realize the windfall of jobs and tax revenue that’s being promised in exchange for their support?
David Shapiro, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union Prison Project, told National Public Radio last fall that the economic boom communities expect from private prisons are often overstated. Continue reading
March 14, 2012 In The Public Interest releases a groundbreaking report exposing the ways in which government contracting and privatization limit our access to public information. Part of a larger national initiative dedicated to promoting the importance of open government and the freedom of information, the report looks at how current open records laws fail to address and govern private contractors, outlining the information that is lost or hidden from public scrutiny. Weak open record laws prevent the public, journalists, advocates, and lawmakers from providing effective oversight and accountability of public resources and services. To address this, Floodlights Instead of Flashlights includes an explicit set of recommendations for lawmakers, media and advocates.
For a copy of the full report, click here.
Forum: Private prisons a risky gamble
By Kevin McDaniel | March 9, 2012 | Record Eagle
Legislators in Lansing are currently pushing through bills that would allow the GEO Group Inc. to house state prison inmates at a private prison in Baldwin in Lake County. What they’re not talking about, however, is that the state has already gone down this path and learned its lesson. Now the Legislature is moving to waste even more taxpayer dollars to learn it again.
GEO operated the facility from 1998 until 2005 to house Michigan’s youth offenders. Why did it close? Because funding for the contract was canceled when the facility proved to be more costly to run than 33 of the 37 other state-run facilities. Continue reading
The Interlocal Agreement Between Pembroke Pines and Southwest Ranches is Cancelled!
Thursday, March 9, 2012 – After four months, a previously deferred motion to terminate the Fire/EMS/Water Inter-Local Agreement with Southwest Ranches was reintroduced and the result was the contract was terminated for convenience. For the past six months, this contract has come under “fire” from the prison opposition movement due to the incorporation of two clauses, which supported the proposed ICE immigrant prison through a provision guaranteeing water capacity within the City and that a water/sewer agreement would be expeditiously approved. Continue reading
Proposal to buy prisons raises ethical concerns
This article is the second in a three-part series looking at some of the different elements of the proposed Crete detention center.
The Corrections Corporation of America has earned some infamy. The private prison company operates 65 facilities in 19 states, had about 570 lawsuits filed against it between 1998 and 2008, and earns $109.1 million a year before interest and taxes.
The biggest boon for the private detention industry has been immigration detention, and with 2011 seeing a record 400,000 deportations, more and more immigrants are being funneled into private immigration prisons. In fact, nearly half of all immigration detention beds are operated by private operators like the Corrections Corporation of America, according to Detention Watch Network. Continue reading
Via City Beat ACLU of Ohio Protests Privatizing State Prisons, Says it will add to state budges, hurt public safety and lead to unnecessary incarcerations
There are certain institutions in the U.S. that we don’t like to think of as strictly profit-seeking endeavors. It can be difficult to swallow that (supposedly) do-good establishments like retirement homes, textbook companies and hospitals exist to bring in revenue rather than serve the needs of a community without waiver. In Ohio, one state prison is already that — a business — and others could soon follow suit.
In September of 2011, Ohio became the first state in the nation to sell a state prison facility to a private prison company when the Lake Erie Correctional Institute in Ashtabula County was sold to the Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest prison operator, for $72.7 million.
The idea to privatize Ohio prisons was concocted by Gov. John Kasich in an attempt to fill an $8 billion hole in Ohio’s budget. The sale brought in an extra $50 million to use in balancing Ohio’s prison budget. Continue reading
Via Honolulu Beat In a letter sent to governors in every state, the national ACLU and 26 other organizations said a recent offer byCorrections Corporation of America to buy prisons currently run by state officials is a “backdoor invitation totake on additional debt while increasing CCA’s profits.
The groups also say the offer will impede “the serious criminal justice reforms needed to combat the nation’smass incarceration crisis.”
Hawaii currently contracts with CCA to house more than 1,700 local prisoners in Arizona, something it hopes to end in part by building more prison space.
ACLU Urges States to Reject CCA Offer to Privatize Prisons
Letters From Coalition of Policy and Religious Groups Call Selling Off State Prisons “a Tragic Mistake” That Could Add Debt to State Budgets
NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union and a broad coalition of 60 policy and religious groups today urged states to reject a recent offer by the nation’s largest private prison company to buy and privatize state prisons.
In a letter sent to governors in every state, the ACLU and 26 other organizations said a recent offer by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) to buy prisons currently run by state officials is a backdoor invitation to take on additional debt while increasing CCA’s profits and impeding the serious criminal justice reforms needed to combat the nation’s mass incarceration crisis. Continue reading
By YanaKunichoff | Chicago Muckrakers | February 28, 2012
This article is the first in a three-part series looking at some of the different elements of the proposed Crete detention center.
The Village of Crete, Ill., about an hour south of Chicago, may be on its way to making private-prison history as the home to the first privately run detention center in Illinois since 1990.
A law passed in 1990 bans private prisons from contracting with most detention or correctional facilities, and has kept the Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group, the country’s two largest private prison operators, out of Illinois so far. Continue reading
By Barbara Levine, executive director of the Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending
To reduce the $2 billion budget of the Department of Corrections, the Legislature is considering whether to allow prisons operated by private contractors. Michigan’s only private prison was the Michigan Youth Correctional Facility in Baldwin. It opened in 1998 but closed in 2005 because its costs were too high. GEO Corp., the owner of the Baldwin facility, has expanded it from 480 beds to roughly 2,400 — all apparently on speculation. GEO hoped to house prisoners from California, but that contract fell through. Continue reading