ICE abhors a vacuum

Do you have an empty prison in your neighborhood? ICE will fill it up for you, no matter how dilapidated and horrid it might be.

When members of Congress reached a bipartisan deal to end the government shutdown in February, they gave Immigration and Customs Enforcement a simple instruction: Stop detaining so many people. Instead, ICE pushed its detention population to an all-time high of 54,000 people, up from about 34,000 on an average day in 2016 and well above the 40,520 target Congress set for ICE.

Now, just after Congress rejected another request for more detention money, ICE is continuing to spend money it hasn’t been given. Mother Jones has learned that ICE has started using three new for-profit immigration detention centers in the Deep South in recent weeks. One of them has seen the death of three inmates following poor medical treatment and a violent riot in 2012 that left a guard dead.

That one is the Adams County correctional facility in Mississippi, which was so awful and poorly run that the Justice Department shut it down…but nothing can be too bad for housing immigrants and immigrant children.

Don’t overlook the key phrase there: for-profit detention centers. The Adams County facility is run by CoreCivic, the largest such organization in the country, and which was founded by — hold on to your hats — a group of Republican politicians and lobbyists. These vermin need to make money somehow, so they’re happy to get government contracts to abuse people.

CoreCivic also owns the Prairie Correctional Center, a currently empty 1600 bed facility just down the road from me, in Appleton, MN. You can bet they’re drooling at the thought of turning it into a money mill once again for ICE.

You know, for-profit prisons of any kind are an abomination. They all ought to be closed. And the laws ought to change so they stop throwing hordes of people into any prison at all — one sign that we might be a nascent fascist nation is that we’ve got the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world.


  1. voidhawk says

    Is it a surprise that they’re For-Profit? The Nazi camps also used slaves to work factories to sell products.

  2. whywhywhy says

    Can anyone explain to me why the area where ICE can actively abuse folks includes Chicago? ICE gets to operate anywhere within 100 miles of the border. How is Lake Michigan shore an international border? The other side of the lake is the US. Seems like if they can claim the entire shore of Lake Michigan as a border than they can also claim the entire length of the Mississippi river.

  3. Dunc says

    How is Lake Michigan shore an international border?

    (a) Because it’s conjoined with Lake Huron.
    (b) Because “fuck you, we can do what we like”.

    Take your pick.

  4. chigau (違う) says

    The population of the Omelas dungeon is much larger than previously thought.

  5. =8)-DX says

    one sign that we might be a nascent fascist nation is that we’ve got the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world.
    Heh, the word “nascent” is doing a lot of heavy lifting there. The entire US “drug war”, “hard on crime” policies including extremely long minimum sentences and the treatment of minorities by the legal system in general is already fascist in its effects.

  6. Pierce R. Butler says

    That Adams County, Mississippi, prison is an unconcealed scary eyesore along the highway leading eastward out of Natchez.

    I know someone who worked there when it first opened. The money was pretty good, by local standards, but she left soon (even during the Bush Recession), expecting that the abusive conditions even at the start would lead to inmate riots and unending individual violence between prisoners and staff.

  7. unclefrogy says

    You know, for-profit prisons of any kind are an abomination.

    when your values are “the market” and “making money” capitalism and competition above all it is not really so unexpected that it would tend to reduce people to things that can be used to make money and anything that gets in the way of making money is bad regardless of what it is.
    uncle frogy

  8. christoph says

    I recall news stories of judges being convicted of taking kickbacks from for-profit prisons in exchange for sending convicted prisoners their way. For-profit prisons go hand-in-hand with corruption.

    So, basically human trafficking.

  9. says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal 699, 702, 703
    You haven’t posted any links directed to me, and my original comment said I didn’t see any good support as a general response to the previous 549 comments. From my perspective I don’t see anything good.

    It doesn’t matter how many times you ask me to tell you what kind of evidence will satisfy me, I want to see what satisfies you now and that’s not dishonest, I’ll take a serious look at what convinces you NOW.
    Supposedly right now you’ve got reasons that you believe are good enough for public expressions of concern about trans women in women’s sports right? It’s reasonable to want to see that, there’s no good reason for me to need to tell you things about something you should already be able to do.
    In fact, it’s disturbing that you need to do research for your concerns about trans women after expressing concerns about them as a group.

    Be as mad as you want but when someone(s) are acting like trans women are a potential problem as a group I’m going to start questioning the feelings and claims they’re attached to. That’s a good thing even though it will make some people feel bad.

    And when there is no support outside of someone’s opinions, that’s lack of reason. I get to point that out. Irrational doesn’t just mean presence of irrationality it also means lack of reason and it’s fair to say that from my perspective you haven’t offered any reason. Just your numbered opinions on things you’ve heard or read. I don’t have to accept that without the support for those things.

    I’ll accept no cost to putting pressure on people whose public expressions of fear about trans women lack reason. The damage done to trans people through unreasoned fear makes that worth while.

  10. says

    @jabbly 706
    No one gets to demand that I tell them what evidence justifies their preexisting concerns. I’ll accept no cost in requesting reasons for fear about trans women in women’s sports. That bears no resemblance to dishonesty that I can see and I refuse to respect the accusation.

    I’ll just keep pointing out the lack of reason for the fear of trans women. In this society that’s a good thing.

  11. says

    @ Murat 707
    Goodness no. Your analogy is terrible. First this doesn’t look like talking about a math equation for trans women. Second it’s more like I’m pointing out no one has actually shown they can do the work, people can posture about subtracting 21 from 50 all they want but until they do the claims lack reason and won’t like a simple equation result.

    Now if one of you finally scrapes up enough courage to put your actions where your feelings are instead of proposing…

    In the abstract I’d accept and accommodate it if someone had a tendency to give more wrong answers because of general negative feeling, like anxiety, about math from having been taught through negative reinforcement. It’s not that they’re afraid of 23, it’s that the fear affects motivation and makes it harder to do the memtal actions associated with math and more errors result.

  12. ridana says

    CoreCivic, the largest such organization in the country, and which was founded by — hold on to your hats — a group of Republican politicians and lobbyists.

    Lobbyists aside, how is this not a conflict of interest for the lawmaking politicians? I mean, we know it is, but why has no one tested this in court?

  13. DanDare says

    Best wY to create more criminals is to give law enforcement and the judiciary incentives to declare people as criminals.

  14. zenlike says

    @ christoph,

    Yup. Even slightly worse, it was about minors:

    The article opens with a minor who was sent to jail for 3 months “for building a spoof MySpace page mocking the assistant principal at her high school.”

    Horrendous, but should not come as a surprise for anyone paying attention. The systems practically invites this kind of abuses.