- A report by USA Today reveals that for-profit operators of detention facilities have raked in record-setting profits during the Trump presidency
- The report also indicates hundreds of allegations of sexual and physical abuse towards detainees
- The companies operating these facilities often give money to pro-Trump or Republican causes
An investigation published Friday by USA Today revealed how for-profit prisons are generating massive revenue to house immigrants, while also facing allegations of abuse and mistreatment of detainees.
The report says that at least 24 immigration detention centers and 17,000 new beds have been added in the past three years since President Trump took office, with the centers being part of a detention network supervised by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
USA Today revealed that the for-profit entities running the centers have had record revenues since 2016 and they often donate to Republicans.
The report noted that there were 400 allegations of sexual assault or abuse at the centers, in addition to 800 instances of physical force against detainees. Nearly 20,000 grievances have been filed by detainees and at least 29 people have died while in detention. There have also been allegations of inadequate medical care at the facilities.
The report says that 90% of the facilities have received passing grades by government inspectors but this is maybe due to the inspections being announced beforehand. If government inspectors came unannounced, it could make a difference in whether the facilities pass inspection.
The vast majority of people in the centers are not even convicted criminals, with 67% of the roughly 50,000 people in ICE custody simply waiting for their next immigration court hearing or deportation.
The top five companies running the largest ICE detention centers are GEO Group, CoreCivic, LaSalle Corrections, Management & Training Corp., and Immigration Centers of America. The GEO Group made $2.9 billion in revenue in 2019 and has donated $250,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee. CoreCivic also donated the same amount to the committee.
For-profit prisons and facilities could be a hot issue in the 2020 election. Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has called for a ban on for-profit prisons and detention facilities if she wins the presidency.
President Trump has been frequently criticized for implementing a “zero tolerance” immigration policy which separates immigrant parents from their children. The policy was rescinded in June 2018. More than 2,500 children were taken from their parents or caregivers while the policy was in effect.