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.