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@ICIRR Applauds House Executive Committee For Standing Against Detention For Profits

May 4, 2012

For more information, contact:

  • Springfield:  Fred Tsao, 773.251.7476 (mobile) or ftsao@icirr.og
  • Chicago: Monica Trevino, 773.573.8667 (mobile) or mtrevino@icirr.org

[On May 2], by a vote of 7 to 4, the House Executive Committee passed SB 1064, legislation that would prevent state and local governments from contracting with private companies to run detention facilities.  The following is a statement by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR):

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) joins with Crete residents and other leaders in applauding the Illinois House Executive Committee for taking a clear stand against privatized detention.  Today, the committee passed and sent to the House floor SB 1064, which would block state and local governments from contracting with companies like the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) to run detention facilities in Illinois.  In passing SB 1064, the executive committee sent a clear message to CCA and other private prison companies that they are not welcome in Illinois.

CCA , the nation’s largest and most notorious private prison operator, has a long and sad history of neglect, abuse, and mistreatment.  At least 24 immigrant detainees have died in CCA facilities, many from lack of medical care for conditions that could have been treated.  Just last year CCA settled a lawsuit that alleged that in one Idaho prison it ran a “gladiator school” that used “Hunger Games”- like violence and intimidation to control the inmates.  CCA now wants to build a new detention facility in the south Chicago suburb of Crete to house as many as 788 federal immigration detainees.

Illinois law already bars the State and local governments from contracting with private companies to run correctional facilities. Illinois understands that jailing people is a “uniquely governmental function,” and that bringing profit motives into detention leads to mismanagement and abuse.  But existing law does not cover facilities like Crete, which involve civil detention.  SB 1064 would close this loophole.

Though the committee vote was clearly a victory for Crete and Illinois residents, the bill still needs approval from the full House before it can be enacted.  ICIRR urges Illinois State Representatives to vote YES on SB 1064 and stand against privatizing detention.

 The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a statewide coalition of more than 130 organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society. For more information, visit www.icirr.org.

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