The private prison industry is looking forward to an increase in business despite an earlier decision by the U.S. Justice Department to end the use of private prisons due to well-documented inhumane conditions and deaths, reports The Daily Beast.
President Trump’s vow to lock up and deport all illegal immigrants signals a rebound for private prisons and detention centers, the Feb. 6 website story reported.
In late January White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced, “We’re going to create more detention space along our southern border to make it easier and cheaper to detain (immigrants) and return them to their country of origin,” according to the story.
Immigrant advocacy groups have been scrutinizing the private prison industry for alleged inhumane conditions such as overcrowding and lack of medical care.
The majority of facilities that the federal government uses as detention centers are private prisons owned and operated by CoreCivic and GEO Group. Six of those facilities were the subject of a critical report by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The report listed allegations of inadequate medical care, unsafe drinking water, the use of solitary confinement as a means of punishment, and the use of rubber bullets to stop fights.
The Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General recently audited the Adams County Mississippi Correctional Center, which is owned by CoreCivic, where conditions were allegedly so bad that inmates rioted and killed an officer in 2012.
The audit revealed:
The company had understaffed the prison, having only 367 staff members for 2,300 inmates.
Only four staff members spoke Spanish despite the fact that the entire inmate population consisted of Mexican nationals.
For 400 days between December 2012 and September 2015, there was only one physician to treat the facility’s entire inmate population. The audit also noted that for more than 700 days during that same period of time there was only one dentist.
In response to the audit, CoreCivic told The Daily Beast, “Although we continue to work to meet certain requirements, significant progress has been made regarding the recruitment and retention of facility staff and facilitation of communication at the facility, including actively recruiting more Spanish-speaking staff.”