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Privately Operated Federal Prisons for Immigrants: Expensive. Unsafe. Unneccessary

NCJ Number
Judith Greene; Alexis Mazón
Date Published
May 2013
24 pages
This report examines an uprising in a private for-profit corrections facility in Mississippi.
Findings suggest that despite evidence that private prisons are substandard compared to those operated by government agencies, prison privatization is unlikely to be halted in the Federal system until population growth in the Federal prison system is curtailed. The immigration laws adopted by Congress in 1996, coupled with the decision to prosecute border crossers as criminals, rather than using the civil enforcement provisions already available under the Federal immigration laws, have created an extremely expensive and problem-plagued second-class penal system of segregated immigrant prisons. This publication chronicles the May 2012 Adams County Correctional Center uprising in Natchez, MS, a private for-profit facility operated by Corrections Corporation of America, under contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The report details some of the tragic personal consequences for Juan Villanueva, his family, and others caught in the midst of the horrific conditions at the facility, leading to the insurrection. The report also examines the rise and fall of the private prison industry, and its resurgence through Federal contracts to detain and imprison undocumented immigrants.