HOUSING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS IN PRIVATE PRISONS PRESENTS A HOST OF PROBLEMS
The federal government has come under fire for its use of private prisons to house people who enter the U.S. illegally, according to Colorlines. Detainees have filed various complaints, including neglect, abuse, overcrowding, riots, unsanitary conditions, insufficient food and interference with access to attorneys.
Recently, advocates tried to intervene on any further use of private prisons to detain or incarcerate non-citizens of the U.S. A group of human rights supporters went on Capitol Hill to halt a nearly $26 million expansion of privately managed prisons proposed in the 2013 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill. But according to Colorlines, the government plans to move forward.
The federal Board of Prisons plans to add about 1,500 inmates a year during the next eight years. The increase would bring the number of detainees housed in private facilities to 36,000 by the year 2020.
“… about half of federal prisoners are now Latinos.”
Prosecutors filed criminal charges against persons arrested for illegal reentry after previously being deported, the article states, which significantly increases the prison population.
Illegal reentering was the most recorded charge brought by federal prosecutors during the first half of fiscal year 2011, which has resulted in big business for private prisons, according to data released by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.
These practices add to the number of federal prisoners, and significantly change incarceration demographics, the article reports. “These policies have led to the point where about half of federal prisoners are now Latinos,” said Bob Libal, author of Operation Streamline Cost and Consequences. “We are clogging the justice system with this astounding increase in unnecessary prosecutions of people who merely sought to reunite with their families,” Libal wrote.
There are more than 24,000 illegal immigrant inmates in 13 federal prisons, according to the report. All these detentions come with a significant price tag: Since 2005, the government has spent $5.5 billion incarcerating undocumented immigrants.