President Trump issued an executive order directing immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) to locate and lockup undocumented immigrants. Ice’s new policy included imprisoning undocumented immigrants without a criminal record.
In 2017, individuals detained without any criminal record by ICE increased more than 50 percent. Inmate deaths in Ice prisons were 10 in 2016 and 8 already by May 31, 2017
Seven of the eight deaths in 2017 occurred in Ice facilities managed and controlled by private prison companies. The Obama administration’s justice reform policy in 2016 included eliminating federal private prisons. The Office of Inspector General’s 2016 memo on private federal facilities concluded they were less safe, secure, and did not save substantial money. Pres. Trump and his administration had different ideas about the use of private prisons.
Trump’s new attorney general, J. Sessions, announced the reversal of Obama’s policies on private prison companies. Before Session’s announcement in February, there were financial ties between Trump and private prison companies.
Private prison companies had financial ties to Trump’s election and inauguration. GEO Group, one of the nation’s largest for-profit prison operators, donated $250,000 to support Trump’s inaugural festivities. A Geo subsidiary contributed $250,000 to a super PAC which supported Trump for his 2016 presidential election. Another prison operator, CoreCivic, gave $250,000 to support Trump’s inauguration.
On April 13, the GEO Group was awarded a ten-year contract for a $110 million, 1,000-bed immigration detention center in Texas.
Geo with three facilities in Arizona, reported in May, a substantial increase in profits under President Donald Trump’s administration. The Geo Group stated that increased detentions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was the cause for its higher profits ($50 million for 2017-1st quarter). CEO George Zooley indicated the company anticipates higher profits for the following quarters.
Trump’s 2017 so far, in only four months, has shown Trump’s close financial ties to private prisons, Trump’s administration increased locking up of immigrants without criminal records, private prison companies enjoying fatter profits, and more immigrants dying in federal facilities operated by private prison companies.
By: Bradley Schwartz
Founder of prisonpath.com