On July 26, 2012, the Public New Service reported
AUSTIN, Texas – The for-profit prison sector would have been hit hard by the Great Recession had it not been for expanded federal immigration enforcement. That’s according to a just-released report by The Sentencing Project. States suffering budget shortfalls, like Texas, have trimmed prison populations, reducing the need for new private contracts. But federal agencies have helped take up the slack by increasingly relying on private facilities to hold detainees awaiting hearings, according to Cody Mason, who authored the report.
“A lot of the detention growth is coming from immigrant detainees. There are these huge networks of facilities that they’re being housed in, and they’re not properly being overseen. It’s hard to keep track of where people are being held and what companies are actually holding them.”
He says most new detention centers are for-profit. One such facility opened this year in Karnes City. It’s an example of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s effort to steer fewer detainees into the prison system.