Part I: private prison contracts
On Feb. 23 Reuters reported The U.S. Justice Department has reversed an order by the Obama administration to phase out the use of private contractors to run federal prisons.
“In a memo made public on Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Obama policy impaired the government’s ability to meet the future needs of the federal prison system.
The Obama administration said in August 2016 it planned a gradual phase-out of private prisons by letting contracts expire or by scaling them back to a level consistent with recent declines in the U.S. prison population.
It said privately operated prisons were less safe and a poor substitute for government-run facilities.
“The (Obama administration) memorandum changed long-standing policy and practice, and impaired the bureau’s ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system. Therefore, I direct the bureau to return to its previous approach,” Sessions said in a letter dated Tuesday to Thomas Kane, acting director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.”
US incarceration on Wikipedia: barbaric numbers, including 54,148 juveniles in juvenile detention in 2013. But we’re No. 1 in prison rates! And why is the T administration imagining a need for more prison beds? One shivers: more dissidents and political prisoners? More alleged domestic terr’ists? More blacks in the cradle-to-grave industrial incarceration complex? Herr T loves him some broken windows and racial profiling policing, yes? And he’d put Black Lives Matter on some sort of warning or other. From the prisonpolicy.org link above:
“This “whole pie” methodology also exposes some disturbing facts about the youth entrapped in our juvenile justice system: Too many are there for a “most serious offense” that is not even a crime. For example, there are almost 7,000 youth behind bars for “technical violations” of the requirements of their probation, rather than for a new offense. Further, 600 youth are behind bars for “status” offenses, which are “behaviors that are not law violations for adults, such as running away, truancy, and incorrigibility.”
Turning finally to the people who are locked up criminally and civilly for immigration-related issues, we find that 19,000 people are in federal prison for criminal convictions of violating federal immigration laws. A separate 33,000 are civilly detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) separate from any criminal proceedings and are physically confined in special immigration detention facilities or in local jails under contract with ICE. (Notably, these categories do not include immigrants represented in other pie slices because of non-immigration related criminal convictions.)
Could Obama have directed that state contract prisons be ‘phased out’ as well? He sure waited until the 11th hour for even this much (Sally Yates’ press release). At the time the AP announced that Obama/Yates’ phase out: “… the policy change does not cover private prisons used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which hold up to 34,000 immigrants awaiting deportation.”
This is from the Federal BOP’s page on private contract facilities:
“Contract prisons are secure institutions operated by private corporations. The majority of BOP inmates in private prisons are sentenced criminal aliens who may be deported upon completion of their sentence.”
The ‘held to a high standard’ rubbish would be laughable if they weren’t so dangerously unaccountable and conditions so wretched. There’s a list and google map of twelve of them.
CoreCivic [laugh track, please], formerly the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)…by 2016 along with Geo Group were running “more than 170 prisons and detention centres”. CCA’s revenues in 2015 were $1.79bn’. More than 65 of those are state and federal ‘correctional facilities’. In 2016, the Obama administration provided the CCA a $1 billion no-bid contract to detain asylum seekers from Central America.
Ah yes: the ‘Controversies’ section at their Wiki is long and gruesome…
From ‘Shocking Photos From Inside Private Prison’, George Lavender, inthesetimes.com
“A privately-run prison in Mississippi holding “seriously mentally ill” prisoners stands accused of being dirty, dangerous and corrupt. East Mississippi Correctional Facility, operated by Management and Training Corporation (MTC), is the subject of a lawsuit brought on behalf of several prisoners at the facility.
After widespread criticism of conditions inside the same prison the previous operator, the GEO group, discontinued its contract with the state in 2012. At the time, the GEO group said that the prison was “”financially underperforming.”
A lawsuit first filed a year ago by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center alleged that “grossly inhumane conditions have cost many prisoners their health, and their limbs, their eyesight and even their lives.”
Photos taken as part of a tour of the prison, showed “charred door frames, broken light fixtures and toilets, exposed electrical wires, and what advocates said were infected wounds on prisoners’ arms and legs,” according to the New York Times.” [snip]
“East Mississippi Correctional Facility is one of five private prisons in Mississippi’s state system. MTC is a Utah based company which according to its website operates “24 correctional facilities in Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, New Mexico, Ohio, Mississippi, and Texas.”
From his March 2016 ‘How Do Companies Make Money From Incarceration?’, Lavender wrote:
“These recently released graphics, produced by the research and policy center In The Public Interest, map some of the many ways private companies are involved in each stage of the criminal justice and immigration systems.
The Prison Complex spoke with Donald Cohen, the Executive Director and founder of In The Public Interest.
What sparked this interest in private companies in the criminal justice and immigrant detention systems?
We did it for a few reasons. We focus a lot on private prisons and we realized that it went much further, that there was a lot of private involvement in all the steps that someone walks through when they’re walking through the corrections or immigrant detention system.” one such graphic:
“We wanted to give a picture of the entire industry. Private incentives and private interests in public goods in corrections are not aligned with public goals. They make more money by having more people in beds and providing more of these services. We don’t want that. We want less people in these services, we want money spent on education and the things we value. The final reason we wanted to do it, and this is the beginning of a larger project, we wanted to show how much profit is being extracted from the system of corrections which could be used for far better things. Better pay for corrections officers would actually help because there’s high turnover. But also mental health services, and job services and education.”
On to the transcript of Herr Trump’s speech at CPAC, a few directly relevant bits:
We’ve taken swift and strong action to secure the southern border of the United States and to begin the construction of great, great border wall. (Applause.) And with the help of our great border police, with the help of ICE, with the help of General Kelly and all of the people that are so passionate about this — our Border Patrol, I’ll tell you what they do. They came and endorsed me, ICE came and endorsed me. They never endorsed a presidential candidate before. They might not even be allowed to. (Laughter.) But they were disgusted with what they saw.
And we’ll stop it. We’ll stop the drugs from pouring into our nation and poisoning our youth. (Applause.) Pouring in, pouring in. We get the drugs, they get the money. We get the problems, they get the cash. No good, no good. Going to stop.”
(Is he channeling Alzheimer-HWB in his speech patterns already? ‘Don’t cry for me, Argentina!’)
More on “drugs”, including my favorite botanical remedy, in part II of all this, but for now, it seems that a whopping percentage of opioids end up in amerika (mostly by way of poppies now grown in Afghanistan, and protected by…GIs). And amerika sends firearms of all sorts to Mexico, especially, for “drugs”. Does Herr Trump even consider why so many here are addicted to drugs? The helplessness, the everyday angst about joblessness, lack of health care, food, housing, water too hideous to even contemplate drinking or bathing in, if indeed their water hasn’t been turned off? Part III may be his private/public infrastructure scheme.
Additionally, ICE border patrol agents are known as some of the most vicious po-po in the land.
More prisons might be a ‘moar jobs’ promise-keeping, as will his announcement of an additional $54 billion budgeted for the Pentagon. USA! USA!
And just fer fun, from mah favorite Commie hip-hop/punk rapper: