The federal government is poised to expand a little known part of the American incarceration system—privately operated facilities that hold immigrants convicted of crimes. Many of the inmates are charged criminally for what’s called “illegal reentry” when they’re picked up by Border Patrol trying to return to the country after a previous deportation. The facilities are among the only ones that the Bureau of Prisons has privatized and their expansion promises more profits for companies, like the Corrections Corporation of America, which runs the Adams County Correctional Center where Moreno’s brother was held.
It’s “quite a racket going on [for] these for profit prisons,” said Rep. Jared Polis, who sponsored the briefing. “It’s not a particularly good deal for taxpayers.”
There are now more than 24,000 inmates in 13 federal prisons for immigrants charged with crimes. Advocates including the ACLU of Texas, Grassroots Leadership and Justice Strategies gathered for the briefing on Thursday because the federal Bureau of Prisons in July issued a call for proposals for a 14th privately-managed facility to house 1,000 “low security, adult male inmates, that are primarily criminal aliens…”