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  • WHO WE ARE-Earlier this month, I arrived in San Diego following five days of driving across the country from Wisconsin. I pulled into my friend’s driveway, brought my things inside, and went back to my car to park it on the street. Almost immediately, a cop’s siren and flashing lights went off. I’d left my license in my friend’s apartment, so I…
  • The Hunting Ground: Human Truths of Campus Rape

    Susan Rose
    CALIFORNIA MOVES AGAINST RAPE-On May 13, California moved aggressively against rape on campuses, issuing a directive to all state colleges to “notify authorities when a sexual assault is reported.” Attorney General Kamala Harris and U.C. president Janet Napolitano jointly issued a set of guidelines to encourage collaboration between campuses and…
  • Santa Barbara Spill Underscores Why We Can’t Allow Arctic Oil Drilling

    Ryan Schleeter
    PLANET WATCH-Last week, a major oil spill in Santa Barbara County made headlines after a ruptured pipeline dumped as much as 105,000 gallons of crude oil on the California coastline. The spill stretches across roughly nine miles of state beach with tens of thousands of gallons entering marine protected areas in the Pacific Ocean. The spill took…
  • How Will David Ryu Honor His Campaign Pledges?

    Jack Humphreville
    LA WATCHDOG-In a race that focused on local issues, outsider David Ryu (photo) outpolled City Hall insider Carolyn Ramsay by almost 10 points (54.8% to 45.2%), representing a margin of over 2,300 votes. Yet, since less than 16% of Council District 4’s 153,000 registered voters bothered to vote, Ryu was supported by less than 9% of those eligible…
  • $15 an Hour: If This Ain't Socialism, Then What SHOULD We Call It?

    Ken Alpern
    CONSIDER THIS-Funny how when you accuse, or even suggest, to a liberal (or is it "progressive"? or is it "reformist"?) that he/she is socialist, they get all bent out of shape. One reason that Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is so respected is that he says it like it is--he's a sincere socialist who means what he says and says what he means. One…
  • California Dreaming: Booms to Busts, the Optimists are Still Searching for the Gold

    James Preston Allen
    AT LENGTH-At a meeting I attended recently with the management of the Port of Los Angeles, a civic leader voiced his enduring optimism for a bright and successful future. I gave the unsolicited reply, “an ounce of skepticism is worth a pound of optimism.” Others at the meeting said aghast, “Oh, no. How would anything ever get accomplished?”…
  • LA’s Homeless: Not a lost Cause

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-I was both surprised and rather pleased about the reaction to my recent article. Apparently, many people in Los Angeles are realizing that the Homelessness isn’t just City Hall’s challenge but affects all of our neighborhoods. Even more important, it doesn’t just affect us economically but impacts our sense of humanity and fair play. Yes,…
  • Senate Race: Choosing Kamala or Loretta Comes Down to North vs. South … California

    Joe Mathews
    CONNECTING CALIFORNIA-Are you a Kamala or a Loretta? Attorney General Kamala Harris and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez—the two leading candidates for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat next year—confront Californians with a choice. But it’s not a choice about competing policies or political visions. Californians don’t have political arguments about…
  • From Tragedy, Healing

    Mike Newhouse
    GUEST WORDS-In the days after Brendon Glenn was killed, in the heart of Venice, I was starkly reminded of one of our community's biggest challenges. But, my perspective may surprise you. What first came to mind was not how we police. It was not about racism or homelessness. It was not about mental illness, or the insidious nature of drug or…

 

  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Exercise Can Help Anxiety … Here’s How

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-Statistics show that over 3 million American adults suffer from anxiety and there is no evidence that number will be declining any time…




Alert! World’s 10 most dangerous animals

Smashing good job. World’s leaders beating each other up

Trevor Noah warming up for takeover of the Daily Show

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

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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