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 IF IT'S BROKEN...FIX IT

Getting Serious about LA’s Sidewalk Repairs: A Five-Point ‘Let’s-Get-On-with-It’ Plan

Ken Alpern
FIXING LA-Last Tuesday night's City Council Board of Public Works and Budget Committees met and allowed a lot of good public input to a series of concerned and available Councilmembers and City officials. The attendance and input were both outstanding--I want to thank Councilmember Mike Bonin, in particular, for allowing the outreach and advice to…

Latino Politicians Putting Climate Change Ahead of Constituents

Joel Kotkin
POLITICS-Racial and economic inequality may be key issues facing America today, but the steps often pushed by progressives, including minority politicians, seem more likely to exacerbate these divisions than repair them. In a broad arc of policies affecting everything from housing to employment, the agenda being adopted serves to stunt upward…

Worlds Apart on Kathryn Steinle: When Political Opportunism Reigns Supreme

John Mirisch
MUSING WITH MIRISCH-The small Swedish Jewish Museum in Stockholm is tucked away on a side street. Discreet signage instructs would-be visitors to push a button which activates a camera, so they can be screened before they are granted entry. The museum's permanent exhibition fills one fairly small room. Most of the objects on display are Jewish…

Garcetti Passes, Wesson Fails

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Our Los Angeles Times has issued midterm letter grades for Controller Ron Galperin (B-) and City Attorney Mike Feuer (B+) and will be posting grades for City Council President Herb Wesson this Sunday and Mayor Eric Garcetti the following Sunday. Our City is facing many difficult issues, ranging from a lagging economy, relatively high…

What LA Really Needs: A Part-time City Council and a Part-time Mayor!

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-There are so many serious and pressing problems facing the City of Los Angeles and few if any real solutions are being proposed or implemented by our elected and appointed leaders at City Hall. I will start with the current city budget. Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had a $7.7 billion total budget in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.…

Why Don’t the City’s Women Managers Hire More Women?

Denyse Selesnick
MY TURN-Perusing the web is a little like the soap operas of yesteryear. You get suckered in! One link leads to another link and then one is exposed to a barrage both facts and idiocy. The reason for this discussion was my attending a July Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils (VANC) meeting with the Department of Water and Power. General…

Cleaning Up LA City Hall: ‘It’s What’s Legal That’s the Problem’

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-Everyone understands that developers own our city government. Sure, there are some officials here and there who are upright and independent, but recent history shows that the developers typically get their way in spite of public opposition. Whether it is a zoning change for an office tower or the required permits for a new mall,…

Not So Fast LA! Let’s Consider the Real Costs of Hosting the Olympics before We Jump In

Greg Nelson
SPORTS POLITICS-On Monday, Boston withdrew from its offer to be the nation’s bidder for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. In January, Los Angeles finished second to Boston when the U.S. Olympic Committee made its decision. After Boston was selected to polish up its bid before submitting it to the International Olympic Committee for a final decision,…

Party Crashing for Political Access: Schwarzenegger and My Pantsuit

Charlotte Laws
CALIFORNIA ACCESS POLITICS-Party crashing—or gate-crashing, as it is sometimes called—is an art form that I stumbled upon as a teen. I taught myself how to finagle into any event, anywhere, anytime. It required being part private eye, part actress and part chutzpah machine. I had to think outside of the box, throw myself into the role, and whip my…

 

Reynolds Rap Video: Joey has hope for the pope in Philly.





Art or Ad? LA’s mural law written in gray ink

Escape the Room-Conan goes for the record … and the laffs


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

Immigrant Detention and the Private Prison Industry: Expensive, Unsafe, Unnecessary

PRISON POLITICS - The latest data on immigration enforcement show that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained a record high of 429,247 noncitizens in the 2011 fiscal year, an increase of 18 percent over 2010. Immigration detention has been steadily increasing over the last two decades.  A new report by Justice Strategies suggests this increase is largely due to the efforts of private prison companies.

The report, titled, “Privately Operated Federal Prisons for Immigrants: Expensive. Unsafe. Unnecessary,” documents the history of prison privatization in the U.S.  Political initiatives and legislative reforms aimed at getting tough on crime led to an explosion in the prison population.  

Between 1980 and 2010, the federal prison population increased by 761 percent.  Private prison corporations took advantage of the situation to contract out their services to the federal government, particularly the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now part of the Department of Homeland Security).

They were also able to capitalize on the terrorist attacks of 9/11.  In October 2001, Wall Street investors were told about the favorable post-9/11 business conditions:

It’s clear that since September 11 there’s a heightened focus on detention, both on the borders and in the US… The federal business is the best business for us.  It’s the most consistent business for us – and the events of September 11 is [sic] increasing that level of business.

These federal contracts are controlled by two corporations.  The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) incarcerates more than 80,000 people in more than 60 facilities with 90,000 beds, and the GEO group operates 109 facilities with approximately 75,000 beds.  These companies charge ICE approximately $90 per day for each detainee, extracting a huge profit.

However, there is a great deal of evidence that there are serious problems within these private prisons, including high staff turnover, deficient security, inadequate food and services, and substandard medical care.  According to Justice Strategies, “While the nation’s public prisons are plagued with problems, the record shows that the private prison industry is fraught with a higher level of serious operational deficiencies than the public prison system.”

In recent years there have been multiple reports of inadequate medical care for immigrant detainees, and multiple deaths resulting from the lack of medical attention.  Reports of mistreatment, abuse, and sexual harassment have also made the news and have been the subject of numerous reports, inquiries, and Congressional hearings.  The Justice Strategies report details several stories of mistreatment and neglect within immigration detention facilities.

Most of the noncitizens held in these facilities are not serious or violent criminals. They are being detained for civil immigration charges, or for illegally re-entering the US after being deported, and some are detained in prison conditions while awaiting their asylum hearing.  

While the Obama administration made civil immigration detention a priority and has initiated some important reforms, it hasn’t been enough.  

While improving conditions and medical care within detention facilities is an absolute necessity, Congress must re-think the wisdom of decades of immigration laws designed to increase detention numbers, and to line the pockets of private corporations who are all too willing to take on new business.

(Michele Waslin, Ph.D., is the Senior Policy Analyst at the Immigration Policy Center. She has authored several publications on immigration policy and post-9/11 immigration issues. Ms. Waslin appears regularly in English and Spanish-language media. This column was posted first at immigrationimpact.com)



CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 77
Pub: Sept 25, 2012

 

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