Love to hate the arrogance and greed of what's called "the private sector"? Think Progress provides yet another example to rile us up.
Last year the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s largest private prison company, received $74 million of taxpayers’ money to run immigration detention centers. Their largest facility in Lumpkin, Georgia, receives $200 a night for each of the 2,000 detainees it holds, and rakes in yearly profits between $35 million and $50 million.
Prisoners held in this remote facility depend on the prison’s phones to communicate with their lawyers and loved ones. Exploiting inmates’ need, CCA charges detainees here $5 per minute to make phone calls. Yet the prison only pays inmates who work at the facility $1 a day. At that rate, it would take five days to pay for just one minute.
CCA’s abuse doesn’t stop at outrageously priced phone services. One woman reported that her diabetic husband does not receive enough food, so she has to deposit money for him to buy more. Occupy Nashville recently protested outside of the company by holding a “human auction” to illustrate how CCA profits off of human suffering. ...Think Progress
Let's remember who CCA is. Here's an earlier post.
Over a year ago the connection between state legislators in the US and ALEC, was made embarrassingly clear. ALEC, a largely right wing "non-profit," provides ready-made and often very profitable legislation from state to state. The privatization of our prison system is partnered with legislation giving states greater powers to seize suspect immigrants. The relationship between immigration policy and prison profiteering is pretty tight.
Over the past decade, the private-prison industry has increasingly shifted its attention to the burgeoning fields of undocumented and criminal alien detention. From January 2008 to April 2010, CCA [Corrections Corporation of America] spent $4.4 million lobbying the Department of Homeland Security, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Office of the Federal Detention Trustee, the Office of Budget Management, the Bureau of Prisons, and both houses of Congress. Of the 43 lobbying disclosure reports CCA filed during this period, only five do not expressly state intent to monitor or influence immigration reform policy or gain Homeland Security or ICE appropriations. ...In These Times
Always, the smell of money.
Looking at the numbers, it is easy to see why the private-prison industry is eager to expand into immigrant detentions. According to ICE Public Affairs Officer Gillian Brigham, in fiscal year 2009, ICE detained 383,524 individuals, with an average daily prisoner population of 32,098 spread across the nation’s 270 immigrant detention centers. ...InTheseTimes
That Prairie Weather report, immediately above, dates back to mid-November, 2011. Think Progress -- the Center for American Progress' blog -- has been updating research into the prison scheme. Here's part of the latest:
As the immigration reform debate heats up, private prison executives have made it clear that they are monitoring how it will affect their rates of incarceration. During a call with investors last week, Corrections Corporation of America CEO assured investors that there will “always be demand for beds”, reflecting concern that incarceration rates will actually go down. With many elements of reform left on the negotiating table, the Columbia Journalism Review is showing just how much money the two major private prison companies, Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group, have invested in the outcome:
Some of the politicians who have benefited most from this largesse are influential Senators who are now playing key roles in shaping proposed immigration reform legislation.
Among members of Congress, the top two recipients of contributions from CCA are its home-state senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee. The Republican lawmakers, each of whom has received more than $50,000 from CCA according to data compiled by the Sunlight Foundation, represent important swing votes for advancing a reform bill through the Senate. Another top CCA recipient is Arizona Republican John McCain, who has gotten $32,146 from CCA and is a member of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” that is working to draft legislation. His fellow Gang of Eight member, Marco Rubio, ranks among the top recipients of contributions from the Florida-based GEO Group, receiving $27,300 in donations over the course of his career.
In recent years, each of these senators has sponsored bills that would have increased the detention and incarceration of immigrants. Legislation put forward by Alexander in 2009, for example, would have provided for “increased alien detention facilities.” And a 2011 bill cosponsored by McCain and Rubio sought to expand Operation Streamline, a federal enforcement program that makes illegal entry a criminal offense in some jurisdictions. ...Sasha Chavkin, Columbia Journalism Review
Capitol Hill -- and, of course, state legislators -- have real difficulties when they're forced to face the immigration issue. They are no less tied to the economics -- the huge profits from -- illegal immigration than are lawn owners all over America, restaurants and hotels, and agribusiness from sea to shining sea who like paying workers lower rates. CCA and ALEC simply help to organize the profiteering at corporate and legislative levels.
Immigration detention has more than doubled private prison profits since 1995, and these corporations have not been shy about using their influence to lobby for incarceration-friendly policies, despite claims from both Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group that they do not take official positiions on issues. Those sentenced for immigration offenses make up one of the fastest-growing segments of the United States’ overflowing federal prison population. ...Nicole Flatow, Center for American Progress